Swiss supermarket Coop is selling tobacco and hemp cigarettes across its 2,400 outlets.
The cigarettes are produced by Swiss manufacturer Heimat, which developed the new product combining tobacco with low-tétrahydrocannabinol cannabis. The cigarettes are the first in the world to be sold in a regular supermarket, costing around CHF 20 (£15.7) – more than double the price of tobacco cigarettes.
In 2011 Switzerland legalised cannabis containing up to 1% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is above the 0.2% legal limit in many other European countries. Coop Switzerland has warned consumers against taking the hemp cigarettes across borders.
A variety of cannabis, hemp includes tetrahydrocannabinol, which in larger quantities has psychotropic effects. However, the hemp cigarettes produced by Heimat have less than 1% tétrahydrocannabinol, which means they do not create a high.
A packet of 20 cigarettes contains 4g of cannabidiol (CBD) or 0.2g per cigarette.
The cigarettes, manufactured at Heimat’s factory in Steinach on Lake Constance, source tobacco from Switzerland while the hemp is both local and from abroad. Heimat is now looking at ways to increase hemp production across the country so it can source from Swiss plants only.
The producer said it had encountered some difficulties mixing tobacco and hemp using machines but was able to eventually blend the two to create a “harmonious mixture”.
Since introducing the hemp cigarettes on 24 July, Coop Switzerland has seen a large demand for the products.
“We already offer several hemp products like hemp Ice Tea, hemp beer, hemp oil or hemp spread. There is a demand for hemp products because of its unique smell and taste. That’s why we also decided to offer CBD-cigarettes to our customers,” said a spokesperson.
With total sales amounting to CHF 28.3bn (£22.3bn), Co-op Switzerland is one of the country’s largest retailers.