How to start a business in the Swiss cannabis market

September 14, 2022 | Category : Trade Shows & Events | Posted By : Silvana Zollinger

84 exhibitors, 3 stages, 73 speakers, 1532 visitors – that’s the short summary of CB Expo 2022 in Zurich. As usual at trade fairs, a lot of business was done, new contacts made and old contacts refreshed. But there was also a lot of talk about how the European cannabis market and especially the Swiss market will look in the future – the latter on the panel ‘The Future of Switzerland as a Leader in the Cannabis Industry.’ Michela Mastropietro (Swiss Queen), Leonid Kotlyar (DéWarrior Unlimited B.V.), Stefan Strasser (Swiss Extract), Andrew Petronanos (Fineleaf) and Luc Richner (Cannavigia), moderated by Farida Hussain of Dovetail Consulting, discussed if Switzerland will be the world’s cannabis hub and what Swissness means, why and how to start a business in the Swiss cannabis market and what the hurdles are. We spoke to the panelists after the conference.

What does Swissness mean? What makes it so special?

Michela Mastropietro: Switzerland stands for high quality, which is known and appreciated worldwide. With Switzerland as a location and with Swissness, companies enjoy important privileges worldwide and thus benefit from an advantageous positioning in the international market.

Luc Richner: As someone who grew up in Asia and spent a lot of time abroad, I learned a lot about the outside perception of Switzerland. The Swiss are diligent and think things through. This is very much appreciated abroad and that’s why we enjoy the trust in Swissness.

When we look at the Swiss pilot projects, what can other countries learn from Switzerland?

Leonid Kotlyar: During the pilot trials, an immense amount of data from several different sources will be collected. From the thousands of individual participants to the differing municipal pilot designs, to the universities participating in the trial – there is no limit to the diversity of data that can be captured and integrated into a holistic analysis framework. This data can then aid policy makers and industry stakeholders to create more effective roadmaps and regulations. Undoubtedly, the Swiss pilot project will serve as a great example for other countries to follow on how to implement their own trials and collect and maximize the value of the data.

Luc Richner: Switzerland has taken a very pragmatic approach and, in my opinion, the only one that can currently work with the situation of the legal framework in the EU. To create the framework that allows for a nationwide study not from the top down but from the bottom up is what makes this very different. Yes one can do consultation hearings with different stakeholders but they will always lobby for their interests without a solid foundation. Switzerland’s approach allows all stakeholders to come together and create globally the first and only data driven and empirical study over how a legalisation could look like. We are very excited and more so proud to be part of this industry changing moment and be the official track and trace partner of the Swiss Federal office for public health (FOPH).

What is the best part of Switzerland when companies start their business here?

Michela Mastropietro: Switzerland’s economic, political, legal and financial environment is promising for any industry and has therefore always attracted various international institutions. For this reason, I believe that Switzerland will also play an important role in the emerging cannabis industry worldwide.

Stefan Strasser: You can rely on Swiss quality, it is part of our culture. Swiss Quality is a respected brand worldwide and we also have a lot of knowledge in agriculture, excellent soil and a good climate for cannabis cultivation.

Andrew Petronanos: We are a trading hub and we are an innovative country. You can produce premium products under the Swiss flag. And if you have the right data backed by good research, you will have the ability to sell those products globally.

What could be intimidating for a business to operate in Switzerland?

Andrew Petronanos: Even though Switzerland is always open for business, you have to be well prepared when you come in as a foreign company. And even though time is the most valuable commodity, you have to anticipate that everything takes longer and in place there are very clear but strict regulations. Come to Switzerland, but make sure you have a Swiss angle, you have to work with Swiss partners. This will make it easier and more acceptable.

Do you need help implementing the regulations in Switzerland and meeting the compliance requirements? Contact us to make your business in Switzerland compliant and transparent.

Watch the full panel:

Watch the after movie of CB Expo 2022: