In 2011, Switzerland legalized cannabis with THC levels less than 1%. Now you can buy CBD-rich cannabis in shops and supermarkets throughout the country.
It took about five years for local entrepreneurs to discover the market for hemp flower products. Since then, however, they have capitalized on a huge demand that is now spreading throughout Europe.
In 2016, there was just a handful of companies selling low-THC cannabis in Europe. There are now hundreds, if not a thousand or more.
Swiss press labelled the non-intoxicating product as ‘marijuana light’. Although it looks and smells just like regular high-THC cannabis, these ‘marijuana light’ products have a much more subtle effect. One Swiss consumer described the effect as a ‘body high’ with a feeling similar to that of drinking a glass of wine.
As the popularity of low-THC cannabis has spread throughout Switzerland, more and more shops selling cannabis buds have sprouted up in cities and towns. Even established supermarkets are stocking now stocking cannabis, including Lidl.
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Legal cannabis is spreading
Unsurprisingly, the interest in CBD-rich cannabis is not limited to the small mountainous country of Switzerland. Inspired by the Swiss green rush, sellers of legal cannabis are scrambling to grab their share of the market in various other European countries.
Most notably, these countries include neighbouring Austria, Germany, France and Italy. You can also include Spain, Netherlands, Poland, the UK, and no doubt others. These countries have tighter restrictions on THC levels and what varieties of cannabis can be grown and sold, but that does not seem to be hindering their legal cannabis industries too much.
It will be interesting to see how accepting of these innovative new industries governments are. In some countries, sellers are possibly acting in legal grey zones and will no doubt have updated regulations to contend with in the future.
Despite this, the demand for CBD products, including raw flowers, is going to grow. The therapeutic value of CBD is coming to light and people are recognizing the health benefits of CBD.
A legal, low-THC cannabis industry in Europe could be a saviour for many suffering from various health conditions. It may also help change opinions on cannabis and move us towards full legalization.
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