Summary: Bern, the capital of Switzerland, is considering a pilot program to study the effects of legal cocaine sales. This proposal, aimed at addressing increased cocaine usage and high levels in Europe, follows a similar program for legal adult-use cannabis sales.
Swiss Capital Explores Legal Cocaine Sales in Pilot Program
Local government officials in Bern, Switzerland, are discussing the launch of a pilot program to explore the effects of legal cocaine sales on the public. This discussion comes shortly after a few Swiss cities, including Bern, initiated a pilot program to analyze the effects of legal adult-use cannabis sales, marking a first in Europe.
Eva Chen, a member of the Bern council from the Alternative Left Party, co-sponsored the proposal, emphasizing the need for new ideas as the war on drugs has failed. The proposal suggests that regulating and controlling the flow, distribution, and purity of cocaine might be more effective than continuing prohibition policies.
Frank Zobel, deputy director at Addiction Switzerland, noted the unprecedented availability and quality of cocaine in Switzerland, with prices as low as 10 francs per dose. The measure has passed the Bern Parliament but requires approval from the city government and a legislative change at the national level before implementation.
The proposed program aims to study new approaches to drug policy, focusing on scientifically supervised trials. This initiative would be the first of its kind globally, where cocaine remains largely illegal. Notable exceptions include Mexico, where carrying up to a half-gram of cocaine for personal use is legal, and some South American countries where low-level possession and cultivation of coca plants are legal. In the United States, states like Oregon have decriminalized personal possession of cocaine.
The Bern government acknowledges the life-threatening risks associated with cocaine use, emphasizing the need for harm reduction and personal safety. The issue remains controversial, with experts like Boris Quednow from the University of Zurich expressing concerns about cocaine’s addictive nature.
Proponents of legalization argue that prohibition has failed to prevent cocaine use, suggesting that harm reduction measures are necessary. Thilo Beck, from the Arud Zentrum for Addiction Medicine, advocates for ensuring safer and less damaging cocaine use.
The implementation of these changes could take years, depending on the success of the adult-use cannabis pilot program and the need for national law amendments. Quality control, supply chain concerns, and harm reduction practices would need to be established before any approval process.
Source: High Times
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