A cannabis decriminalization law took effect in Switzerland Oct. 1. From the start of this month, possession of up to 10 grams is punishable only by a fine of 100 Swiss Francs (approximately $110) for those over the age of 18. The new law is an effort to unify what had been a patchwork of policies that varied by locality. The measure is expected to save money by cutting back on the 30,000 cannabis-related cases that make their way to the courts each year.
Penalties are also now stricter for those caught selling to a person under the age of 18. And the new law allocates greater resources to youth cannabis use. A 2013 UNICEF report found Swiss youth are the world's second-most likely to smoke cannabis, with just over 24% of adolescents having smoked in the last year. For perspective, Canada leads the world in youth cannabis use, with 28% of adolescents admitting to smoking pot in the past 12 months. (Huffington Post, Oct. 3)