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Switzerland and Ecstasy

Switzerland's Supreme Court has ruled that dealing in Ecstasy is not a serious offence. Ecstasy remains illegal but will be regarded as a soft drug rather than a hard one as it cannot be said to pose a serious risk to physical and mental health and does not generally lead to criminal behaviour. Those who use it are generally 'socially integrated people'.

The ruling came as a result of the Federal Tribunal overturning a ruling by a Berne court which had sentenced a man to more than a year in prison for selling 1,000 Ecstasy pills.

The open-minded attitude of the Swiss towards Ecstasy has been evident for some time in their policy towards MDMA research.

Between 1988 and 1993 therapists in private practice were permitted to use Ecstasy within psychotherapy, and MDMA research is currently underway at the Psychiatric University Hospital in Zurich. Researchers there have permission to do studies in which MDMA is given to both regular users and MDMA-naive volunteers. More information is on the MAPS website on the MDMA Research in Switzerland page.

June 1999