Photo by RUSS HUDSON via marijuanagames

Industry | 11.12.2021

Is This The End Of Cannabis In Barcelona?

The smoke clubs are under threat.

In Barcelona, Spain, consumers can purchase cannabis joints from local clubs and associations. The Spanish law says that marijuana can be consumed and grown for personal use, but a recent overturn might change how Barelonians get their weed.

Since the approval of the law noted above, there’s been an active loophole in the legislation that allows consumers to buy and smoke marijuana obtained from “clubes cannábicos” or “asociaciones cannábicas.” But, sadly, the loophole is no longer after Catalonia’s Superior Court overturned a 2016 regulation approved by the Barcelona City Council to permit clubs to operate in the city.

And now, these clubs and associations could be forced to close. Over the past decade, Catalonia has pioneered a cannabis social club model. 70% of Spain’s cannabis clubs operate in Catalonia, with roughly 200 to 350 active operations, which have boosted the region to become one of Europe’s cannabis capitals.

This isn’t your typical pot-coffee shop like the ones in Amsterdam, where people can freely purchase cannabis and other substances. Instead, Barcelona’s clubs are “private associations” where anyone who wants to enter must pay a fee and file for membership registration.

Photo by Tresor Cannabis Club

Barcelona’s marijuana clubs initially prohibited guests who are not members and are not Spanish residents over 21. New members had to be referred by an existing club member.

According to Cannabis Barcelona, “You don’t need to be a Spanish citizen to join a cannabis club in Barcelona. Currently, there is no law that forbids foreigners from registering; you only need to confirm that you are welcome to visit the club. According to the interpretation of the law, cannabis clubs should consist of a ‘closed group of members.'”

Forbes first got ahold of the story and noted that the loopholes and “loose interpretations of the law” are causing the cannabis clubs and associations to close. Spain’s El Diario notes, “With this decision, the last legal umbrella left to these spaces disappears.”

Photo by Tresor Cannabis Club

Forbes also mentioned that Spanish pro-legalization commentators are worried the closure of cannabis clubs will encourage users to look to the illicit market. They said it could “open the ban for organized crime groups, with the risk of them invading the city with practices that generate different types of violence.”

They continued that the closure of clubs will also impact growers, producers of hemp, genetic experimentation, conservation banks, and promoters of activities related to CBD.

Even the city’s police authorities have validated that the cannabis clubs have effectively suppressed the illicit market. However, after the recent overturn, illegal cannabis might be making its unfortunate come back to Barcelona.

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