The NarcA-revision starts again from the beginning

After the final failure of the last revision of the Narcotics Law in June 2004, various things have happened in the field of drug policy. The hemp initiative was launched and various parties and parliamentarians have submitted proposals. The disillusionment in reform-oriented circles was very great last June. But after months of discussions behind closed doors, the first tentative proposals are now being made on how to proceed. Following the National Council (see Legalize it! 31, page 6), the Council of States has now also approved the UN Convention on the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs. This does not change anything for the current Swiss legislation, because our NarcA is a very strict law. But it will be tighter in the future if Switzerland wants to take steps towards decriminalization. However, all reservations have also been accepted, so there are definitely possibilities, especially for consumption. For trafficking, on the other hand, it will be almost impossible to take any more steps towards legalization. Thus, Switzerland has approved all three UN agreements. But it seems that a new edition of the revision of the Narcotics Law is possible. In any case, the Commission for Social Security and Health of the National Council (SGK-N, yes that is the commission of the Council that last June scuttled the whole NarcA revision) decided on February 3, 2005, to propose a partial revision of NarcA. It should therefore no longer contain all the points of the old revision - it should be tried to summarize the points that are acceptable to the majority, as the media release of the commission of February 4, 2005 shows (underlining by us):

"SGK-N wants to relaunch drug policy

(…) On February 3, 2005, the Committee for Social Security and Health of the National Council (SGK-N) held its first fundamental discussion on drug policy in the National Council since the failure of the NarcA revision on June 16, 2004, in connection with various proposals on the Narcotics Act (NarcA).“ Four items of business were up for discussion: In the last Legalize it! you can find more information about the three parliamentary initiatives 04.439, 04.443, 04.459. As a fourth business the commission dealt with the petition “For a legal situation regarding hemp/cannabis that is adapted to reality” (04.2014) submitted by the Swiss Hemp Coordination on June 15, 2004. Further in the media release: “By 13 votes to 9 with 3 abstentions, the Commission decided on the following Commission initiative:

Partial revision of the Narcotics Act

  • The NarcA is to be partially revised, in which the majority elements of the revision that failed on 16.6.2004 (in particular 4-pillar policy, prevention and therapy, protection of minors, tasks of the federal government) are quickly anchored in law.
  • In addition, the cannabis issue will be taken up with the inclusion of the pending parliamentary initiatives and proposals will be developed.

With this, the National Council Commission expresses that the drug policy situation today is unsatisfactory. It wants to give clear signals to the circles concerned with regard to the further development of Swiss drug policy with clear federal legal regulations. At the same time, the Commission decided to suspend decisions on the three parliamentary initiatives on the agenda for the time being. Further work on a partial revision of NarcA now still requires the approval of the SGK of the Council of States.

Finally, the commission took note of the petition by 15 votes to 9 with 1 abstention without further consequence.”

Well, that's what happened to the earlier petitions: They take note of it. And that was it… Nevertheless:

A tender little plant sprouts

At least something is happening again in official politics. We still have to wait for the approval of the commission of the Council of States, but it would be astonishing if members of the Council of States should cause problems now - in the Council of States, the old NarcA revision had always gone through without a fuss. But there is not much at stake anymore: The anchoring of the 4-pillar policy brings, besides some nice words in general legal texts, especially the anchoring of heroin distribution, which is still on shaky legal ground. But our topic, smoking pot, is to be dealt with separately from this, not more expeditiously, but even more slowly. Because the commission wants to work out “proposals”. There is already a huge collection of such possibilities. In any case, I have a concrete suggestion: proceed in several steps! First (and immediately!) allow consumption for adults living in Switzerland in private premises, as well as possession and cultivation for personal use. Then one could allow semi-public places, where people consume together. Finally, allow places where trade is strongly regulated. I don't mind ten years passing between the steps, but it would be really nice if the politicians would take a concrete step, however small, instead of just talking about it all the time.

Interesting idea

In such hopeless times it is good when a newspaper at least writes about a concrete idea. The Berner Bund reported on March 12 that various officials in Biel are considering setting up a trial operation for cannabis sales. Of course, strictly regulated and scientifically monitored. But this requires a permit from the federal government. It would at least be a first step if the Biel authorities were to submit an application. We are curious to see whether something real will develop from this or whether the whole thing will remain an idea.

Last modified: 2024/03/27 08:56

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