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Cannabis: What are the rules in Switzerland?

Basically, the consumption of cannabis is illegal in Switzerland. However, shops and markets are selling an increasing number of cannabis (hemp) products. What is the actual position now in Switzerland?

There are various forms of the cannabis plant; one of them, hemp, is among the world’s oldest agricultural crops and ornamental plants.

Cannabis plants contain various active substances. The best known are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

THC has a psychoactive effect, so cannabis is a prohibited narcotic. CBD is not psychoactive. It can help people to relax and relieves pain and muscle cramp.

There are forms of cannabis that contain negligible amounts of THC. These plants are not banned under Swiss narcotics legislation, provided they contain less than one per cent THC.

Illegal consumption of cannabis

Cannabis is best known today as a narcotic. It is available in various forms, including marijuana and hashish. It is illegal to possess or consume these drugs in Switzerland.

Federal Office of Public Health: Cannabis (DE)

Adults who consume cannabis illegally face a fixed penalty fine of CHF 100. There is no penalty for the possession of 10 grams or less of cannabis. Persons under the age of 18 are dealt with under the criminal law applicable to juveniles.

Federal Act on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances: Art 19

10 grams or less of cannabis or a narcotic with the same effect is regarded by law as a negligible quantity.

Negligible quantity
Fixed penalty fine

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is responsible for the narcotic effect of cannabis. Products made from cannabis plants that contain very little THC (less than one per cent) can be bought and sold legally.

Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) Overview and implementation guide (PDF)

Requirements for dealing legally in cannabis

Many regulations must be complied with in order to produce and sell cannabis products legally. The Federal Office of Public Health, Federal Office for Agriculture, Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office and Swissmedic have put together a factsheet.

Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) Overview and implementation guide (PDF)

Cannabis as a medicine

Cannabis has pain- and cramp-relieving properties. Medicines containing the active substances in cannabis require authorisation. Currently only one product is licensed for sale in Switzerland. 

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) can grant special authorisation for the medical use of prohibited narcotics. Only the doctor responsible for the case can apply for authorisation. The patient must consent to the treatment.

Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) Overview and implementation guide (PDF)

Questions and answers

Can I grow my own cannabis?

You are allowed to grow your own cannabis, but it must be a variety of the plant that does not have a narcotic effect. The THC content must be less than one per cent. 

Can I sell cannabis products at the local market?

Legal cannabis can be sold at the market. The products must meet the legal requirements (see factsheet).

Can I bring cannabis products into Switzerland that I have bought legally abroad?

Products from legal cannabis (i.e. with a THC content of under 1%) can be brought into Switzerland. The import rules differ depending on the type of product (flowers, seeds, extracts, oils, foodstuffs, cosmetics, etc.). The question of whether the import is made for private or commercial purposes is also relevant.

You can find more information on imports on the Federal Customs Administration website (www.ezv.admin.ch). 

Can I import cannabis-based medication that I have bought abroad into Switzerland?

If the cannabis in the product contains THC, the answer is no. One exception is the preparation known as Sativex, which is licensed in Switzerland.

Travellers suffering from an illness can carry medicines containing narcotics with them for a treatment period of one month. However, this only applies if the medicines do not contain any prohibited substances. Cannabis, and preparations made from cannabis, belong on the list of prohibited substances. Accordingly, travellers who are ill are not allowed to bring them into Switzerland.

As far as cannabis containing only CBD is concerned, currently there are no licensed medicines that have CBD as their main active ingredient. If any should become available, the same rules will apply to them as for other medicines that are not subject to the Narcotics Act.

Can I take legal cannabis abroad?

The regulations on importing cannabis differ from country to country. You should ask the authorities in the country in question.


Can I drive after consuming legal cannabis?

Even legal cannabis contains traces of THC. Zero tolerance is shown to drivers who have consumed narcotics. Consuming legal cannabis may still result in illegal amounts of THC in the blood when driving. If you are unfit to drive, you must not use your vehicle. So it is best not to drive after consuming legal products like hemp cigarettes or other cannabis products.