Spain Needs To Take Its Rightful Place As A Global Cannabis Leader
Spain, particularly Barcelona, has been home to a vibrant cannabis community for many years. Cannabis is very easy to acquire throughout most of Spain where roughly 1 out of every 10 adults consumes cannabis annually, and it’s no secret that Spain has long served as the top destination for world-class Moroccan hashish.
When it comes to cannabis clubs, Spain has some of the best on the entire planet. Home to roughly 47 million people, Spain is also home to hundreds of cannabis clubs with a majority of them operating in the Barcelona area. The clubs are private and require a membership, however, they are extremely popular and most people have been able to join if they are willing to jump through the necessary hoops.
Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities on earth, and we are very excited to once again be teaming up with Spannabis to put on the world’s largest cannabis superconference this March. Barcelona is a hotbed for cannabis clubs due to a 2016 regulation approved by the Barcelona City Council which permitted cannabis clubs to operate in the city.
Unfortunately, that regulation was overturned in 2021 by Catalonia’s Superior Court, leaving Barcelona’s entire social cannabis club scene in a state of limbo. Technically, such clubs are considered to be illegal under Spanish law, however, with so many cannabis clubs already in operation shutting them all down is likely to prove to be an impossible task. Even if some get shut down, more will presumably open up.
Lawmakers Need To Accept Reality
Cannabis prohibition does not work, and there is zero evidence that it stops humans from consuming the cannabis plant. Instead, people just do it in the shadows, all the while living in fear. This also applies to cannabis clubs. The clubs in Spain serve a vital function for suffering patients by providing them safe access, and they provide a safer alternative for consumers compared to many other substances that are legal in Spain, including and especially alcohol. Prohibiting them will not make them go away. Rather, it will just make them less safe.
Spain is world-famous for its cannabis, its cannabis community, and specifically, its cannabis clubs. Rather than sticking their heads in the sand and acting as if the clubs will go away, lawmakers in Spain need to embrace cannabis clubs and let Spain take its rightful place as a global cannabis industry tourism leader.
Such a move would create jobs, generate public revenue via fees and taxes, and eliminate any costs to taxpayers that are tied to enforcing cannabis club prohibitions. Cannabis clubs are going to exist in Spain no matter what. Spain might as well regulate them and reap the benefits from doing so.
Spain Needs Adult-Use Legalization
Full adult-use cannabis legalization has obviously failed to pass in Spain as of this article’s posting. For many years it was easy for lawmakers in Spain to drag their feet, to refuse to take action, and to point their fingers elsewhere. That approach is going to be harder to stick with as cannabis legalization spreads across the European continent.
At the end of 2021, Malta became the first country in Europe to pass an adult-use legalization measure. Malta’s legalization model will include legalizing cannabis clubs, which will serve as the primary source for people to acquire cannabis beyond cultivating it themselves. Luxembourg, Italy, and Germany are all on the cusp of legalization. Certain jurisdictions in Switzerland and the Netherlands are participating in a legalization pilot program. All of that reform puts pressure on lawmakers in Spain to step up.
Spain is at a vital crossroads right now. Lawmakers in Spain can continue to cling to failed cannabis prohibition policies and only allow a very limited medical cannabis industry to operate, or they can embrace the emerging cannabis industry and benefit in ways that many other countries cannot due to how well-known Spain is for cannabis. Only time will tell which one it ends up being.