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Switzerland starts legal cannabis sales with transparency-focused tracking software



After 6 months of delay, Switzerland is ready to make history with the legal sale of cannabis in the country, using an innovative tracking system created by Vigia AG, the Cannavigia software and the 'Cannabis Dispensary System'. From January 30, 2023, the approximately 180 initial participants selected for the “Weed Care” study, within the scope of the Swiss pilot project for the legalization of adult/recreational use of cannabis, will be able to buy cannabis in nine of the pharmacies in Basel. Within 6 months, another 200 participants will join the pilot project.

In order to ensure the execution and transparency of this project and any others in the future, it was essential to implement a reliable tracking system, and to achieve this, the Swiss company Vigia AG, the company responsible for creating the software Cannavigia, developed the Cannabis Dispensary System (Cannabis Dispensary System) in partnership with the Federal Public Health Office (FOPH). This software solution provides a way to transparently track cannabis products, document product distribution and enable scientific investigation.

Philipp Hagenbach, COO of Vigia AG, explained that “Switzerland is leading by example with its structured legalization process, maximum compliance and transparency. With our existing Cannavigia software and Cannabis Dispensary System, we provide the necessary tools to track and document each step along the supply chain.”

Vigia AG is FOPH's official partner for tracking and traceability of pilot project programmes. This unique partnership between the government and a commercial company in the cannabis industry provides maximum transparency and traceability. THE Cannabis Dispensary System is an addition to Vigia AG's current Cannavigia software system. The combination of the two allows companies that grow cannabis for projects to monitor their cultivation and supply chain, ensuring the quality of the final products.

The software allows dispensaries to register study participants, track sales, and ensure that only authorized persons can purchase products. This ensures consumer protection and results in a transparent and traceable supply chain that can be maintained even in a future legalized environment. THE Cannabis Dispensary System provides FOPH with an overview of cannabis circulation in Switzerland and supports the reporting obligation to the UN International Narcotics Control Board.

Vigia AG believes that transparency and compliance go beyond effective regulations and certifications. Using the software gives market participants the greatest possible certainty that they will meet FOPH's future quality and information requirements, helping to build confidence for the future legalization of cannabis.

What can the Swiss buy at dispensaries

As regards the range of products to be available for purchase at the 9 pharmacies in Basel, there are two products in the form of hashish and four in the form of dried cannabis flowers from the Swiss producer Pure Production AG. Consequently, prices range from 40 to 55 francs for each five-gram package. Study participants are allowed to purchase a maximum of two packs at a time and a total of 10 grams of THC per month. For the study, consumption is only allowed at home and its transmission is prohibited.

The cannabis pilot projects in Switzerland can serve as an example of a structured legalization process. Unlike other countries that have decriminalized and/or legalized the consumption of cannabis for adult/recreational use, Switzerland's experience is being tested in a real environment, allowing the early identification and resolution of any potential problems. The interaction of the private and public sectors is essential for advancing national legalization and other countries can learn from Switzerland's experience.


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