Summer 2008: Parliament has passed - now it's the people's turn

In March, things suddenly moved forward quickly: Both the NarcA partial revision and the hemp initiative have been finalized by parliament. It is quite certain that both bills will have to be assessed together by the voters.

Hemp Initiative

In the end, the Council of States was somewhat annoyed about the abrupt no of the National Council's commission to the counter-proposal. The Council of States had initiated and supported such a counter-proposal in order to oppose the hemp initiative with a less far-reaching proposal (which would have had greater chances of realization). While the Council of States had narrowly rejected the initiative on March 11 with 18 to 16 votes, the Council of States voted even more narrowly against the initiative in the final vote on March 20, with 19 to 18 votes. Unfortunately, the anger of the Council of States was not enough for more - in the end, both chambers of our parliament rejected the initiative. So, once again, the parliament failed. A total ban on THC is not tenable under the rule of law, it contradicts our federal constitution and human rights and must therefore be changed. By the way, this is also the opinion of the official expert commission: In January, the Federal Commission on Narcotic Drugs EKDF confirmed its opinion on the handling of THC in an update of its major cannabis report from 1999. It calls for a strictly regulated market and a fundamental lifting of the ban on consumption, which could, however, continue to be enforced in certain places or situations. This would be a reasonable and constitutional way of dealing with THC. Our politicians should also be guided by this. But: They have failed. The voting date is fixed: On November 30, 2008, the people will have their say. But there is probably no hope that a majority of the voters will vote for us, for a minority with a special preference. Pleasure and intoxication - these ancient companions and comforters of mankind are currently under a lot of pressure. The zeitgeist is not at all in line with this, as the referendum campaign will show.


In March, the National Council and the Council of States went back and forth a few more times: the last differences between the two councils had to be resolved. On March 20, both councils voted in favor of this partial revision, the Council of States even without a dissenting vote. On the far right, the EDU has launched a referendum against the law. It is supported by the SVP. They have to collect 50,000 valid signatures by July 10. This will allow them to force a referendum on this law. This would then also take place on November 30, 2008. This means that there will be two votes on drug policy before the end of the year. There will be heated discussions all around - and then two decisions that will determine Swiss drug policy for many years to come.

The contents of the hemp initiative (06.106)

  • THC use, as well as all acts necessary for it (purchase, cultivation, possession) are immediately exempt from punishment
  • The federal government is to issue regulations for the trade in THC products (this means that implementation laws are needed here; the authorities have a great deal of leeway in this regard)
  • The protection of minors must be respected
  • No advertising for THC products
  • No advertising for THC use

The schedule at the hemp initiative (06.106)

  • Initiative submitted 01/06
  • Federal Council rejects initiative; no counterproposal 12/06
  • Commission of the National Council rejects initiative; no counter-proposal is prepared 02/07
  • National Council rejects 12/07
  • Commission of the Council of States also rejects initiative 01/08
  • Council of States rejects 03/08
  • Final vote 03/08
  • Federal Council sets voting date 05/08
  • Voting campaign from 07/08
  • Referendum 30.11.08
  • Rejection with what percentage yes?

The contents of NarcA-partial-revision (05.470)

  • Anchoring of the 4-pillar policy (prevention, therapy, harm reduction, repression)
  • Possibly allow THC as a remedy (the exact conditions for this are still unclear), but THC use remains fundamentally punishable by law
  • Definitive legalization of heroin prescription (beyond the year 2009).
  • Replacing the term “hemp herb for narcotic production” with cannabis products (simplification of hemp plant-prosecution)

The schedule at NarcA-partial-revision (05.470).

  • Commission of the National Council launches commission initiative 02/05
  • Commission of the Council of States gives green light 05/05
  • National Council adopts commission initiative with amendments 12/06
  • Commission of the Council of States approves the project 10/07
  • Council of States also agrees 12/07
  • Revision of differences NR/SR 03/08
  • Final vote 03/08 (This makes the text of the law final).
  • Referendum runs until… 10.07.08 Probably successful, then…
  • Referendum 30.11.08
  • Entry into force open
Last modified: 2024/03/27 08:56

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Legal overview

Shit happens 15 (Summer 2023)

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