Swiss capital votes for legal cocaine

Lazy eyes listen


The Bern municipal council approved on Thursday to expand the trial sale of cannabis to cocaine. However, without the consent of the federal authorities, the drug will not be authorized instantly.

The resolution, proposed by the Alternative Left party, was approved by a vote of 43 to 18, according to Swiss news station SRF on Friday. Leftists and certain members of the center-left Social Democratic Party supported the move, which was opposed by center-right and religious councilors.

Bern voted last year to test the restricted sale of cannabis, and the federal government granted him permission last month. Cannabis sales are anticipated to begin in Bern this fall, following Basel, Zurich, and Lausanne.

Bern Social Director Franziska Teuscher said her city would not push the government to act on cocaine, and that Thursday’s vote instead sent a signal that the city would be open to the idea in the future, noting that the federal government only agreed to allow cannabis sales after significant pressure from multiple cities.

In 2019, the council rejected a similar resolution, claiming that the Social Democrat majority wanted to acquire experience with legal cannabis sales before going on to heavier narcotics.

Switzerland is a cocaine hotspot, according to Addiction Switzerland, with five tons of the powder entering the country each year. According to EU data, four Swiss towns – Zurich, Basel, and Geneva – are among the top 10 cocaine consumers in Europe. Consumption has increased across Europe in the previous decade, with Bern residents consuming more than twice as much as they did in 2012.