In Switzerland, the government have been considering different options for regulating the supply of cannabis with a particular interested in evidence-based regulations that produce the best possible public health outcomes.

DPMP were commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office for Public health to conduct a comprehensive review of the evidence on alcohol and tobacco control, what has proven successful, and what elements could be transferable to cannabis policy. In particular the project was concerned with alcohol or tobacco interventions that have been proven to:

  • Prevent high-risk consumption of alcohol or tobacco
  • Reduce harms among those consuming alcohol or tobacco at high risk levels
  • Prevent underage use of alcohol and/or tobacco
  • Protect third parties.

We examined eight regulatory areas including: market structures, pricing and taxation measures, consumer information and product labelling, regulation of product types, advertising, retail sales and distribution, drink-driving countermeasures and regulating allowable places of consumption.


Overall pricing and taxation measures were found to have the strongest evidence base and application to a legal cannabis market, with higher prices found to dampen population levels of consumption. Other areas for consideration included smoke-free legislation, legislation on impaired driving from alcohol (drink-driving), restrictions – including full bans – on advertisements and interventions for specific populations (e.g. preventing underage use). Importantly, there is a combined effect of a range of policy levers and supply considerations. How the market is configured is a critical consideration (with some lessons from alcohol and tobacco monopolies here) alongside the stage of market maturity. Getting appropriate structures and restrictions in place early is crucial as regulations are much harder to implement once a market is established.  

Research Centre

Social Policy Research Centre

Research Area

Drug Policy Modelling Program