Switzerland’s CBD cafes booming

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Switzerland’s CBD cafes booming

Although Switzerland’s cannabis laws changed 6 years ago, it is only now the industry is booming. Its laws allow medical cannabis products with up to 1 percent THC. There are now high hopes for the industry which has gone crazy since late 2016. According to a customs spokesperson, entrepreneurs have only now discovered its money-making potential. Low potency cannabis has been legal since 2011. Switzerland’s Customs Agency taxes the cannabis trade. Its spokesperson said the amount of people registering to sell low THC cannabis has skyrocketed from only a few to 140 in 6 months. Switzerland expects a tax revenue of $25 million on sales worth around $100 million in 2017.

Organically-grown low-THC cannabis

KannaSwiss is a Swiss wholesaler that supplies cafes and shops with organically-grown low THC cannabis. Its owner Corso Serra di Cassano says it cannot keep up with demand although it quadrupled its staff in the last 12 months. The KannaSwiss founders are from the aristocrat families:
  • di Cassano whose family dates back to an Italian prince beheaded in 1799, and
  • Boris Blatnik who had a sister marry into the overthrown Greek royal family.
Di Cassano compares the effects of the low THC cannabis to drinking a couple of glasses of wine. He suspects the recent customs campaign sparked the recent boom in low-THC cannabis. Customs recently warned retailers the deadline for paperwork was April. This is what prompted everyone to follow the cannabis legislation. As more shops and cafes open, more people visit.

BioCann operates CBD Café

A smoker’s café in Dübendorf, Switzerland is a place where patrons can smoke cannabis without fear. The owner Dario Tobler and his partner Markus Walther grow the herbs smoked in the café at their property. It is high in CBD and its THC content varies up to 1 percent. These visionaries started their company BioCann AG after recognising the need for CBD low-THC cannabis. Before opening the café, low THC strains were only available online. Walther has been growing cannabis for almost three decades. He started when cannabis was sort of legal after activists found a loophole in the legislation. Switzerland closed this loophole when the United Nations and neighbouring countries objected to its cannabis legislation.

Substituting cannabis for tobacco

A CBD substitute for tobacco received Swiss Ministry of Health approval at the end of 2016. CBD cannabis products are sold as a tobacco substitute or to help quit smoking. These substitutes are causing authorities concern. It is impossible to tell the tobacco substitute from a joint. Swiss police say they cannot tell the difference between a joint with high THC cannabis and one with low THC. Tobler, owner of the smoker’s shop, said he opened the café not to give people a place to smoke. He opened the shop because it was now legal and no longer stigmatised. People come from nearby German to enjoy the café in the Zurich suburb, but they cannot take home anything across the border. Europeans can only have cannabis with a THC limit of between 0.2 and 0.3 percent while in Switzerland it is 1 percent.

Cannabis crosses the Austrian border

The cannabis boom has crossed the Swiss border into Austria where recently the first bud shop opened in the heart of Vienna. Long queues formed for the opening of Austria’s only legal cannabis café. Magu CBD has products that range in THC from 0.19 to 0.2 percent and demand is so great they cannot keep up. Magu CBD founders are growing their own cannabis is an attempt to stabilise supply to meet market demands. Currently patrons cannot chill out in the bud shop. This may change before too long. Vienna is a city where you can smoke cannabis in some restaurants and legally buy cannabis plants.

Germany’s government ended pot shop trade

Germany’s government has enacted trade policy that ended its pot shop trade. New legislation in Germany means all CBD products must meet the same standards and provisions as other medicines. Although it is Iegal to possess cannabis products in Germany, new licencing laws and procedures are too complicated and expensive for small companies.

Switzerland first to legalise recreational cannabis

Europe has little consistency in the cannabis laws across each country. The Netherlands is famous for its coffee shops. While other countries experiment with cannabis laws, Switzerland is the first to legalise and tax low potency cannabis for recreational use. People from all walks of life including professionals, retirees and parents are using Geneva’s Doctor Geneva’s cannabis shop. Founder, Paul Monot said trade had grown quickly since opening in December 2016 with a turnover of between 50,000 and 100,000 Swiss francs a month. He said that people from all walks of life visit his shop and he has plans to open 40 more to reach out to people.  

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