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Swiss capital Bern considers legalising cocaine

The city is currently looking into a pilot scheme to sell the drug for recreational use

  • 8 January 2024
Swiss capital Bern considers legalising cocaine

Officials in Switzerland's capital Bern are considering legalising possession of cocaine, with proposals for a pilot scheme to sell the drug for recreational use in the city.

The scheme is currently being considered by Bern's Governing Council, and would mirror an ongoing trial in the city that allows cannabis to be sold in pharmacies.

Bern’s Parliament are in support of the scheme, however the trial can only go ahead with backing from the city government as well as a change in Swiss national law.

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According to Reuters, Switzerland has one of the highest levels of cocaine use in Europe with price of the drug dropping in the last five years by half.

Whilst the prices of cocaine have dropped in the country, The Telegraph reports that around 70% to 80% of all cocaine sold in the country is in the top percentile of global purity – with officials calling it the "highest quality ever seen."

As reported by Sky News, Eva Chen, a member of the Bern council from the Alternative Left Party who has co-sponsored the proposal, said: "The war on drugs has failed, and we have to look at new ideas.

"Control and legalisation can do better than mere repression. We are still far away from potential legalisation, but we should look at new approaches. We are calling for a scientifically supervised pilot scheme trial."

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Chen adds that it is too early to explain more on how the pilot scheme would develop including factors such as how the drug would sourced and where it would sold.

Sky News also report that The Bern government have warned that cocaine can be life-threatening adding, “The consequences of an overdose, but also individual intolerance to even the smallest amounts, can lead to death."

In countries such as Spain, Italy and Portugal, people in possession with cocaine are no longer sentenced to prison however no country has gone as far to legalise the drug.

Becky Buckle is Mixmag's Multimedia Editor, follow her on Twitter

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