When I first arrived in Switzerland, I had no idea why there were so many shops with cannibis signs advertised in the window. I felt like I was in Amsterdam again. I wasn't really aware cannibis at the time was treated just as it is in Canada, like a secret that was known by all.
For curiousity purposes I began asking some of my friends about the laws here in Switzerland regarding Cannabis. Sure enough, at the time I thought the laws were as free as being in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Amazing.
What I gathered was you could basically consume it as long as it wasn't associated with dangerous drug activity. At any given point when taking the train, you could easily smell people smoking it in the form of a cigarette as you walked around. But then I started seeing shops that were normally open being suddenly shut down. You know something is wrong when their windows were put up with newspapers. I had a friend who was pro-cannabis and informed me a lot more about the happenings and found very educational.
Really I had no idea you could have hemp tea in a cannabis coffee shop. Sure there were other items and the one shop looked just like a bar. People in Switzerland openly grew their cannabis for a while too.
But then in 2003 the government started cracking down on dealers who supplied occasional pot smokers. The crack down is what puzzled me because it was obvious the Parliament was avoiding the issue too. So there was only one thing for the pro-cannabis to do.They are standing up for their rights again as the pro-cannabis club has gotten enough signatures, 100,000 votes actually, to put the decriminalization of cannabis up for a nationwide vote.
I do think this vote could actually sway a landmark of happenings and actually help Canada if they were to decriminalize the drug as well. The Swiss Info article is actually a pretty good read. Of course this is such a controversial issue throughout the world and takes a long time to study and make change.