Swiss kiosk owners who used to sell, cigarettes, lighters, pipes, and tobacco are finding low-THC cannabis, now legal in Switzerland, to be a lucrative business. Suppliers can’t keep up with the demand.
Le News reported on the new fad that might fade out or become a permanent business all over Switzerland. In Geneva a kiosk owner told Tribune de Genève, he has no supply to meet the growing demand for low-THC cannabis.
Kiosks can’t keep up with the low-THC cannabis demand
Another, kiosk owner says he just can’t keep up. People are streaming into his shop. He is constantly busy. Just in the last ten days, he has had 150 sales worth CHF 9,000.
Swiss law declared low THC legal in 2011. “Low” means it contains less than 1% THC. The rules are a trifle unclear. When one entrepreneur asked local authorities, no one knew what he was talking about. The only warning he got was from Federal Health saying he is not allowed to claim health benefits in his marketing material.
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Two months non-stop sales growth
Bern and Zurich are buzzing, with cannabis sales continuing to increase for the last two months. Marcus Mohler has seen a similar demand in Basel and says people are using it for its calming effect. They seem to like the lack of psychotropic effect caused by high THC levels.
Mohler says he has never seen so many people in his shop in 20 years of being a tobacconist selling e-cigarettes and other tobacco related products. He says people aged “18 to 80” are streaming into his store from morning till night, and they aren’t looking for tobacco!
No tax for now
For the moment, there is no tax on the product other than 8% VAT. E-liquids are flying off the shelves. Could the tax-free status be turning nicotine users into CBD users?
The police told Tribune de Genève they had no problem with the practice up till now but will keep an eye on it. They are adamant that any violation of the laws on controlled substances would result in arrests.
Police are unperturbed
It is difficult for the police to enforce the “low” THC aspect of cannabis sales. There’s no way to check cannabinoid content on the spot.
Olivier Guéniat, a police officer from Neuchâtel, says there is no difference in the way “low” and “high” THC cannabis looks or smells. No one will know the difference without analysis. In the same video, cannabis entrepreneurs are shown supplying Switzerland with low-THC cannabis.
Give consumers what they want
Swiss tobacconists say that low-THC cannabis is hugely popular, so there doesn’t seem to be much motivation for them to try bucking the system or breaking the law. After all, they’re giving consumers what they want.
Will the trend spread across the world? After all, low-THC cannabis isn’t as harmful as nicotine. Maybe Switzerland can set an example from which other countries will benefit.