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Spanish Patients Can No Longer Access The Cannabis Clubs

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In the United States, the issue of whether the cannabis industry is “critical” or not is being fought on a state by state basis. In Europe, the situation is almost the same, except the mandates here are “national” and “federal.”

In Spain, one of the worst-hit Covid countries, cannabis patients are in a terrible situation. The Cannabis Clubs are all in a tenuous position thanks to the lockdowns and a failure by authorities to address the situation to help keep them open, even in a limited capacity (at least officially).  Most of the associations are closed due to the Pandemic. Those who risk opening for an hour or two a day are doing so in secret. And the supply on the street has rapidly escalated in price.  

As a result, most of the 200,000 patients in Spain currently served by the clubs are now left without medication, either because of lack of access to the clubs, or money, or both.

The clubs themselves are also in an almost impossible solution, even if they wish to help. Obtaining supplies from the outskirts of towns where the cannabis is cultivated for the clubs is almost impossible due to the lockdown measures. Those who brave the measures and are caught risk huge fines. Some clubs are opening for an hour or two a day, despite the lockdown, clandestinely, just to stay alive, if they can.

Indeed, as reported by Spanish ‘zine, the Pandemic and efforts to control it, are having an outsized and terrible impact on Spain’s cannabis patients.  Carola Perez, president of the Spanish Observatory of Medicinal Cannabis, put it this way. “Right now, we are facing many calls from desperate people.”

Unlike the United States, Canada, and even Germany, where the drug has slowly begun to gain acceptance, and patients can still obtain supplies from dispensaries and pharmacies, the lack of regulatory progress or even current guidance in Spain has thrown a curveball that is, as some are describing it, a human rights violation of massive proportions because nobody thought about giving the clubs any sort of protection to operate. Or patients the right to obtain their meds from these outlets.

Where is the status of cannabis regulation In Spain?

The calls and promises to regulate the drug and normalize its use, even medically, have stalled since 2017. Cannabis has been banned in Spain “officially” since 1967 when the dictator Francisco Franco outlawed it, but in recent years, the clubs have begun to fill in the grey areas. There are currently only ten companies in Spain who have the right to cultivate the plant, given said authority from the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS). This medication must be obtained from a doctor (still difficult) and is highly expensive.

Everyone else depends on the clubs and exists in a tenuous reality, created by a lack of forward progress on cannabis reform domestically, if not internationally. The pandemic, of course, has already made the gaps in the system, and the lack of real reform all the more visible.

For up to the date information on regulatory change across Europe, be sure to attend the International Cannabis Business Conference when it returns to Europe in late summer 2020.