And is it legal to grow cannabis in Switzerland?
It is possible to grow cannabis in Switzerland, but not all kinds, not just anyone, and not anywhere.
The legislation governing cannabis is both federal and cantonal. Here’s a quick tour of the laws governing the cultivation of cannabis in Switzerland.
Can I grow cannabis with more than 1% THC?
No. It is not possible for the general public to grow cannabis with more than 1% THC. This practice is potentially legal if it has an FOPH authorization, which can in theory be obtained for three reasons: scientific research, limited medical application, or drug development.
To obtain this authorization, a number of documents must be sent to the FOPH, including an excerpt from the trade register. It is therefore not possible for personal medical use to apply for the cultivation of THC-containing plants. In fact, this authorization subject to the visit of the DOSP is extremely limited. Indeed, cannabis is almost not allowed for medical use in Switzerland (prescription), except for the Sativex preparation, from the point of view of the OFSP, there is no need for cannabis plantations with THC. Moreover, this authorization does not give the right to sell or consume it, since above 1% of THC cannabis becomes a drug governed by the Narcotics Act.
We also point out that seeds potentially containing flowers with more than 1% THC are illegal in Switzerland in the same way as a ready-to-eat flower. There is therefore no point in provoking the authorities by using the excuse of the collectible seed. This is why it is not advisable to germinate seeds found in a CBD package. Indeed, there is no guarantee that the plant will contain less than 1% THC, and you could unknowingly end up in an illegal situation. We advise you to fall back on stable seeds or cuttings sold in reputable shops to avoid a nasty surprise.
Can I grow cannabis with less than 1% THC?
Yes. It is legal to grow cannabis with less than 1% THC, including for individuals. Federal legislation is very flexible in this area and discharges (almost) entirely its regulation to the cantons on the one hand, and to the Federal Office of Agriculture (OFAG) on the other.
Below is a text from the confederation’s website summarily explaining its position on the issue:
Under Appendix 6, Article 5 of the Agreement between the Swiss Confederation and the European Community on Agricultural Trade (RS 0.916.026.81), Switzerland admits the marketing on its territory of seeds of hemp varieties admitted to the Community (European catalogue). In addition, it should be noted that:
- The OFAG and the FOPH do not issue any special authorisation for the cultivation of hemp.
- Feeding rent animals with hemp is prohibited.
For any additional questions related to growing hemp, please contact:
What cannabis can be grown on an agricultural surface?
Only hemp. Indeed, cultivation on useful agricultural land is very supervised, right down to the seeds allowed. It is not actually possible to grow cannabis at more than 0.2% THC on an agricultural plot, since the only seeds that are legal to plant/buy are those from the European catalogue. However, the seeds in the European catalogue are governed by European law which does not allow cannabis with more than 0.2% THC. In reality, on agricultural land, it is not possible to grow cannabis, but only hemp.
If the farmer receives direct payments, he will have to announce that he is growing cannabis as he would declare the other varieties.
Depending on the cantons, the announcement of hemp cultivation on agricultural land is recommended, mandatory, or not subject to advertising. The canton of Bern, for example, does not impose the declaration of hemp cultivation, unlike the canton of Vaud. We advise you to announce yourself with your municipality or local authorities to ensure the legality of your planting. Indeed, as mentioned on the website of the Confederation, there is no authorization (and therefore a ban), so you do not lose anything to announce yourself.
Finally, in Switzerland, it is very difficult to become a farmer or to have the right to exploit an agricultural area, but this is by far not a necessity to become a cannabis farmer. Indeed, exploiting agricultural land to grow CBD cannabis at less than 1% THC is the most limited and therefore the most controlled method therefore the most discouraged.
What cannabis can grow an individual?
The individual is less restricted, provided that he does not grow on an agricultural surface, and that he stays below the 1% THC mark. The legislation to which he must refer is that of his canton. The majority of them do not have rules for individuals, just as there are no rules for growing tomatoes or basil.
On your balcony, in your vegetable garden or in your closet, you are free to grow crops!
One of the most restrictive cantons is Saint-Gall, which imposes the announcement to the authorities of any cultivation of more than 10 plants. Again, this announcement is not made in exchange for authorization, because at a federal level, there is no authorization to grow CBD cannabis. You can therefore always call your canton or your municipality in order to know the legislation in force at home since as an individual they will not be able to prevent you from cultivating. The cantons of Vaud, Bern or Valais, for example, do not impose any constraints on individuals.
Can the authorities differentiate between a cannabis crop with more or less than 1% THC?
Yes. There are rapid tests that law enforcement can use to determine if the cannabis plant (in bloom) contains more or less 1% THC.
In the event of a check or search, the police will immediately know that your cannabis contains less than 1% THC and you will not be prosecuted for violating the drug rule.
What if I can’t prove that it’s not cannabis with less than 1% THC (if it’s not in bloom for example or if it’s seeds)?
If you can’t raise the suspicion, because your plants are not in bloom for example, you could find yourself in a difficult situation, depending heavily on your attitude, your background and law enforcement.
In order to protect you, we advise you to report yourself to the authorities near you. You’re within your rights. Announcing that you are planting CBD will not cause any reaction as it is not even mandatory, but it could be useful in the event of further control, or flight.
If the suspicions against you are very high, your growing equipment may be seized. If you have a driver’s licence, you may also be reported to the Auto Services (SAN) who will make a preventive withdrawal of your licence. To get it back, you will need to undergo drug tests to prove your sobriety. This will cost you several hundred francs and can last many months until any suspicion is lifted.