The Swiss government reported that demand for legal marijuana is soaring after revealing it earned 15.1 million francs ($15.1 million) through taxing sales in 2018.
Switzerland legalized cannabis with a THC content of up to 1% in 2011 and it has seen the industry grow each year since. The Federal Office of Public Health revealed that tax revenues were just 400,000 francs ($400,000) three years ago, and said the craze for CBD sparked the 3,675% rise in sales.
The government estimates that 6,200 kg of cannabis flower was taxed, and the figure is growing all the time. In 2017 there were five manufacturers targeting the Swiss market and it claims there are now 672.
A group called Addiction Switzerland claims that the majority of legal cannabis consumers in Switzerland are young adults who have been buying potent marijuana on the black market and now want to reduce their THC intake. It surveyed 1,500 users and found them to be enthusiastic about the positive effects of CBD in terms of sleep, stress, and general wellbeing.
Domestic producers say they are ramping up cultivation efforts to meet growing demand. Some campaigners claim that CBD is a promising substance for Swiss youngsters, but that they should be better educated on the subject and encouraged to look at alternative ingestion methods to smoking.
Switzerland is the world’s ninth richest country by GDP per capita, ahead of the U.S., according to the IMF. It has a population of around 8 million people and 500,000 of them are estimated to be cannabis users.
Cannabis with more than 1% THC was decriminalized in 2012 and anyone caught with it is just handed a fine. The Federal Commission for Addiction recently said that cannabis is popular in the central European nation, but that very few people use it to harmful levels.
Yet the commission recommended that the Swiss government follow in the footsteps of countries like Uruguay and Canada by legalizing recreational cannabis use. That would involve changing the legal definition to stress that marijuana containing more than 1% THC content is legal, and the commission said this would help protect the health of the population, particularly youngsters.