The road to legalization in Basel

In Basel, a pilot trial called “Weed Care” has been running since January, allowing participants to legally purchase cannabis from pharmacies. Daniel, a 30-year-old food engineer and regular consumer, is one of 370 participants in the study. The goal of this experiment is to find out how the legal sale of cannabis affects consumption.

Security through legal sale

Thanks to the participation of nine pharmacies in Basel in the “Weed Care” pilot project, study participants can legally purchase cannabis – and at a slightly higher price than on the black market. According to Daniel, the legal sale of cannabis offers many advantages: In addition to decriminalizing cannabis, he finds it reassuring to know exactly what he is smoking.

Consumption under the microscope: More or less?

Marc Walter, project manager of the study, explains that participants have to fill out a questionnaire every two months. In this way, the researchers want to find out whether and how legal consumption affects overall consumption. In the first five weeks of the study, over five kilos of cannabis have already been sold.

The choice of strength

Study participants, 80 percent of whom are men, can choose from six different products with varying THC levels at the pharmacy. The two products with high THC content (16 and 20 percent) are the favorites so far. The researchers’ hope, however, is that participants will switch to weaker products – or even stop using them altogether – as the study progresses.

Change in consumer behavior in sight

Daniel has already noticed changes in his consumer behavior. Although he smokes as often as at the beginning of the study, he now chooses less potent products. His personal goal is to stop smoking pot altogether by the end of the study in two years.


The pilot project “Weed Care” in Basel is an exciting attempt to investigate the effects of cannabis legalization on consumption. Early results show changing consumption patterns and a glimmer of hope for reducing consumption. Although it is too early to draw definitive conclusions, the study provides an interesting window into the potential impact of cannabis legalization.


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