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Switzerland launches second cannabis pilot with support of Cannavigia software

Swiss company Cannavigia is supporting the pilot with its track and trace software.



Participants in Zurich permitted to buy controlled cannabis products from selected dispensaries.

The Swiss city of Zurich has marked a significant milestone with the official launch of its cannabis pilot trial ‘ZüriCan’ this week. 

The trials represent a major development in the legalisation and regulation of cannabis in Switzerland. 

The second pilot, which began on Tuesday 22 August, will see participants in Zurich permitted to buy controlled cannabis products from selected dispensaries.

The three-year study aims to examine how the sale of cannabis products under regulated conditions affects the consumption and health of participants.

Swiss company, Vigia AG, a provider of track and trace software for the cultivation, manufacturing and distribution of cannabis, is the Federal Office of Public Health’s (FOPH) official track and trace partner for the pilot trials. 

The company has developed the Cannabis Dispensary System in partnership with the FOPH in order to reliably document the dispensing of the products. 

The Cannavigia compliance software suite and the Cannabis Dispensary System (CDS) offer complete traceability for cannabis products, providing the FOPH with a precise overview of cannabis in circulation serving as the basis for proper comprehensive scientific research. 

This data enables them to report to the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board, promoting transparency and accountability. 

The ZüriCan project

The Zurich pilot project is the company’s most significant venture to date, with over 2,100 participants and 21 dispensary outlets, including pharmacies, social clubs, and a dedicated drug information centre. Each dispensary is authorised to accommodate 50 – 150 participants. 

ZüriCan represents the second pilot initiative introduced in Switzerland, as well as the second project where Vigia is implementing its CDS solution. 

The project stands out due to its customised interface connecting the Vigia AG software to research databases as demanded by stakeholders. 

In a press release, Vigia AG’s product manager, Pia Meyer, commented: “This project reflects our commitment to ensuring maximum compliance with regulations while promoting transparency at every stage of the value chain, from cultivation to distribution. We aim to guarantee that consumers have access to safe, high-quality products that meet rigorous standards set by the FOPH.”

Press conference in Zurich about the launch of ZüriCan. Copyright: Vigia AG

A key focus of this investigation is to comparatively analyse the health outcomes among cannabis consumers in relation to regulated cannabis sales, utilising three distinct supply point models. Through personalised interactions, adept staff at these supply points will establish individual rapport with participants, delivering tailored advice regarding their cannabis consumption habits. 

An innovative aspect of the ‘ZuriCan – Cannabis with Responsibility’ study is the inclusion of social clubs, marking the first non-profit associations in Europe where members possess legal entitlement to purchase and collectively consume cannabis. 

The empirical insights derived from this study will serve as a foundational framework for informed deliberations pertaining to the pragmatic implementation of a responsible cannabis policy in Switzerland.

Both cultivation companies providing the cannabis for the trial are also currently using the Cannavigia Compliance Suite during their production processes to ensure complete supply chain traceability. 

It is hoped this will lead to further improvement of product quality, harm reduction and increased consumer safety. 

Supporting authorities by enabling transparency

This kind of partnership between the government and a commercial business in the cannabis industry is unique.

By combining both the CDS and Vigia AGs Cannavigia Cannabis Compliance Software Suite, the companies cultivating cannabis for the projects can monitor their cultivation and supply chain, which serves to ensure the quality of the final products. 

The authorities in charge of the projects can use the software to register the study participants and it allows the dispensaries to keep track of sales as well as individual quantities dispensed to participants, guaranteeing that only authorised persons can purchase the products. This includes a validation feature that is used by local law enforcement across the different cantons. 

All these efforts ensure consumer protection, and in particular the protection of minors, and result in a transparent and traceable supply chain that can also be maintained in a future legalised environment. 

The CDS provides the FOPH with an overview of the circulation of cannabis in Switzerland and supports the reporting obligation to the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board. The data of the participants will be stored pseudonymously to ensure data protection.

Philipp Hagenbach, COO and co-founder of Vigia AG, expressed his enthusiasm about the project, stating: “Our software reassures that participants and stakeholders are in line with the FOPH’s quality and legal requirements during the performance of the pilot trials. It allows the collection of all the data necessary for the research of the associated study of the pilots and gives the regulator the instrument to fulfil the monitoring requirements according to international standards.

“We are proud to be a part of the regulatory changes which are happening currently and have a close collaboration with all the different stakeholders involved.”

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