We are somewhere in French-speaking Switzerland. In this greenhouse: the first production of legal recreational cannabis!


Here we have about 20,000 plants.


That's 10,000 square meters that we were exceptionally allowed to film. And that's just a part of what was planted for that first batch...


Cédric Heeb is the producer who has been chosen to supply the stores that open tomorrow in Geneva and Lausanne. On the eve of the harvest, he seems quite happy.


It is estimated that between 500 kilos and one tonne of material will be produced by this harvest.


A whole lot! More than enough to make some people envious. Or attract detractors. So the place is ultra secure. The few people who come in here are registered. And employees asked not to disclose the nature of their work... Even to their families!


BLUR: 00.49'' everything behind the glass


We have a record of each access and then a security system that is the equivalent of what is done even in banks. Everything is under video surveillance, we have a whole infrastructure to prevent access.


And it's not paranoia.


We can imagine that yes, there is theft or contamination actions, etc. As we are in organic farming and we are not allowed to treat, there are quite simple things that could be done to annoy us, clearly it would be to spread insecticides or pesticides on a large scale...


That's it, it's almost ready!


1'43'' TITLE


BLURRING: 01.50'' dot on guy's head


For this thirty-year-old, an executive in the food industry, it's a small revolution. But before smoking legally, you have to go through the offices of Addiction Suisse, which has been mandated by the City of Lausanne to set up the project, called CANN-L


Welcome to the final stage of the CANN-L project...


BLURRING: 02.21'' guy's face



We chose to make a non-profit store, we don't make a profit on the sale. We will offer 4 types of herbs at first and one type of resin and on these 4 types of weed the difference is the THC level.


An informative interview, but also a few questions about health and consumption. Because the criteria are strict: you must be at least 18 years old and already a cannabis smoker to participate.


So my consumption is usually once a week, more or less twice. Very rarely alone, rather in a group, in festive or relaxing contexts. I am very happy to finally be able to access a market that is a little more regulated and free, as it should be.


Today, if I understand you correctly, you have no idea what THC levels are in your products?

Not zero. I never really knew what was in it.


For me, that's a big problem. It's like going to buy a bottle of wine and you don't know if it's at 5% or 25%.


This young man is one of the 6500 people who smoke regularly in the city of Lausanne alone. For him, participating in this project is almost a militant act, and if he testifies with his face hidden, it is because of his work.


For me at the moment, it's more professional reasons that make me not want to show off. It's still a product presented as a drug, which is still too stigmatized in my opinion in our society and I hope that projects like Can-L and all the initiatives underway in Switzerland can help change that.


But for now, even though around 56 tonnes of cannabis are consumed in Switzerland every year, being perceived as a stoner is often still a fear. For Jonathan, a researcher at Addiction Suisse, this is not a surprise.


3'53'' Jonathan Chavanne, scientific collaborator Addiction Switzerland


So this fear still exists, I really think. In the current situation, it's not because we're doing pilot tests that all of a sudden, wow, I'm a consumer, there's no more problem.


The real surprise was the success of the operation


What amazed us was how quickly people signed up for the project. Really when we freed up slots on our website to make the appointments to finalize the registration, in no time, as soon as we freed them it was gone in 3 seconds


More than 220 registered in a few weeks. By July, nearly 1,700 people could be selected.

The profile: mostly men, with an average age of 40. Like Yassine, a 45-year-old municipal employee. He has been smoking for more than 20 years.


What are you looking for in this cannabis consumption?


Cannabis helps me enormously, it's psychological, moral, even physical support. The main reason is health. The festive side was 20 years ago when I was 19 years old and it was fun to smoke a joint but this is really different.


For Yacine, the opening of this store is a real relief. The promise of finally getting out of a form of marginality.


5’18’’ Yacine


Will you go to the black market more afterwards?

Obviously. If there's a store where there's everything you need, I don't see the reason why I'd go to the black market more, absolutely.


A few weeks later in the greenhouse, it's harvest time.


BLUR: 05.27'' mountain to the right behind the glass


BLURRING: 05'31'' lady's face


BLURRING: 05'38'' lady


BLURRING: 05 .49''two men and the lady in black behind Cédric


5'49'' Cédric Heeb, producer


Here you have the flower that has just been harvested and is now going to be pruned


The icon of cannabis is this famous leaf, but in fact it's not at all what is going to be consumed, what is going to be consumed is the flower


BLURRING: 05'59'' Man pushing cart


BLURRING: 06'02'' Banner on mountain on the right behind the glass and the workers' faces


BLURRING: 06'06'' the 6 faces of the workers


BLURRING: 06'12'' Two Hard Faces


BLURRING: 6'19'' hard-working faces

Disinfection. Striptease. A long and meticulous work...


There is an enormous amount of quality work, everything that has been in contact with this flower will have had to be validated by our pharmacist in charge


In total we have 8 varieties, with the different requests of the pilot trials, so we have varieties that are rather upwards, towards the maximum of 20% THC, available, there are varieties that are in the middle around 12% THC and then there are lower varieties between 3 and 6%


BLURRING: 06'44'' working faces


The prices are aligned with those of the black market: 9 to 12 francs per gram depending on the THC level. Enough to finance the production and the store


BLURRING: 06'50'' Faces working in the background


But setting up a project like this is a real challenge! For the past two and a half years, the team that is piloting this project at Addiction Suisse has been holding a series of meetings. We had to get the permits, convince the police, the courts, find a place to sell. And train staff, including medical staff


As we have seen that cannabis use is frequent, it may be associated with certain risks in some people in certain contexts


This doctor, a specialist in addictions, is associated with the project. It will be available to participants and vendors. Like Julia, the store manager. Who used to sell sneakers...


I think it's important that we understand the limits of our role. At what point does our role end, at what point do we pass the baton to the referring doctor? How do we do it?




You will know very quickly whether in the discussion the question is resolved in your interaction or if there is a need for contact and with whom. In case of doubt related to the aspect of addictive driving with my colleagues, we will be able to direct or receive quickly


08'21'' Julia Laureau, CANN-L store manager


I feel like I'm stepping out of my sales role, it's more of an exchange. As we lose this turnover target, it is rather the human side that comes. /For me the project makes sense so that's cool

Back to the producer. The harvest is stored in these canisters in various locations in French-speaking Switzerland. All behind armored doors. A tonne at 10,000 francs per kilo is still worth almost 10 million.

How many kilos is the harvest we saw growing in your greenhouse?


We're around 500 kilos what you saw there and it's going to decrease a little bit because now we're going to refine all this, we're going to remove the leaves and we're going to end up with the flowers, it's going to decrease again by almost half


Cannabis is passed from room to room, from hand to hand, each time checked


Here we are on the last visual check, the last manicure before the product is put in a bag...  We're really making sure that it's a great product for consumers and that they really have access to something amazing for these pilot tests


There you go! Cardboard temporarily stored here and shipped very securely to the point of sale

Can't tell how?



D-day minus 4, in the heart of Lausanne. It is on this street that the first legal cannabis store is about to open


Welcome to Cann-L before it opens. You have to have a bit of imagination to project yourself, you arrive directly on the sales area so the counter here


The store should look like this. But for now, there's still a bit of work to be done.


When a participant arrives, how does it work?

The participant, once integrated into the project, receives either a membership card that may look like this one, or he or she may have an application. It's this QR code that counts that is attached directly to his ID and it allows us to validate via software that he is indeed part of the project and that he can come and buy cannabis


Between 50 and 100 grams maximum per month depending on the THC level


The store will be open to everyone, consumers and curious alike.


The idea is to be able to answer those who have questions and those who don't, and well, they are completely free. It's really a very free space


The communication part, that's what makes sense for me in this project, is to be able to talk again about a subject that is a bit taboo and to de-demonize it and just to be able to make it a somewhat transparent subject.


BLUR: 11'38'' large headband at the top left to hide the mountain and hardworking faces


This pilot project is expected to last 4 years. While waiting in the greenhouse, we tidy up for the winter. Production will resume in the spring


11'49'' Credits


David Nicole

Béatrice Guelpa

Chantal Dall'Aglio

Gabriela Ackermann

Benoît Mayer

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