Since joining the European Union on the 1st of January 1986, Spain has become a living example of European integration.
The ‘European spirit’ is somewhat second nature to Spaniards as the recognition of “difference” is largely part of the Spanish identity. This attitude must play a part in how Spanish drug laws have been developing.
Why I say that, is because Spaniards are very tolerant to the use of Cannabis as well as to the use of other drugs.
The heroin problems of the 80’s resulted in changing the public view of heroin addicts. Instead of dealing with heroin addicts as criminals, they are treated as patients in need of care and support.
Nowadays, Spain is enjoying one of the most relaxed Cannabis laws in Europe and it ranks very well on the world stage.
Everyone can get access to Medical Cannabis in Spain, as a matter of fact, they don’t draw a line between using it for medical purposes or for wellness.
What are the laws regarding Cannabis in Spain?
Cultivation of Cannabis for personal use is decriminalised in Spain. Which means you can grow your own plants at home as long as it is for your own use and never traded in any shape or form.
It is legal to sell or buy seeds and everything else you need to grow your own plants. Seed shops are spread across the country and below is an example of one in Barcelona:
There are also “grow shops”. These are retailers which sell equipment and supplies for growing the plants, some may even sell hydroponic systems which are specifically used for Cannabis cultivation.
The politicians are quite relaxed when it comes to Cannabis in Spain. The ex-cabinet director of Spain’s National Drugs Plan, Araceli Manjon said in 2013 that
“Cannabis is not a drug … and even if it is, it can’t be compared with other drugs that are banned.”
However, it is worth noting that it is illegal to cultivate or traffic Cannabis for commercial use of any kind. It is against the law and can attract a prison sentence of several years.
Each region in Spain (such as Catalonia, Andalusia, Aragon and so on) has autonomy over its drug policy and some areas put forward more relaxed approach on Cannabis than others.
History of Cannabis in Spain
Even though Spain didn’t make the list we recently compiled about which countries are smoking the most Marijuana, it does not mean that it hasn’t got a long reaching history of Cannabis.
As a matter of fact, Cannabis has been the most commonly used drug in Spain for some time.
It was the Spanish that brought Cannabis to the new world in 1545.
Today, Spain has one of the world’s most buzzing Cannabis cultures and consumption is widely accepted by the locals.
It is not a criminal offense to be in possession of Cannabis (for personal use) or to use it in public places, however, it does attract a fine, so be careful. You are likely to see people smoking Marijuana on the beach or even on the street but it is best to follow the law and limit it to the Cannabis clubs and home.
The history of Cannabis clubs in Spain dates back all the way to 1993 when a group in Barcelona tested the legality of cultivating Marijuana on behalf of others for their use.
What is a Cannabis Club?
A fantastic part of the Cannabis culture in Spain is the Cannabis Clubs. Sure, it’s great that you can grow Cannabis but if you are just visiting you won’t have time to grow it. And so it is a Cannabis Club you want to visit. There are hundreds across the country, especially in the Catalonia region around Barcelona.
The clubs are a great way to control and introduce Cannabis in society. It is discrete and they cannot advertise. That way, only people looking for them will find them.
In a nutshell, locals or visitors alike can become a member of a club as long as they have an invitation and a residential address in Spain.
Getting an invitation to a Cannabis Club can usually be obtained by contacting a club.
Once you have an invitation to a club you have to pay an annual membership (20 – 60 Euros). As a member, you can consume Cannabis at the club.
If you’d like to transport a small amount for personal use back to your residence, this is safest to do in your underpants as that is practically not against the law.
Clubs seem to be a great solution for Cannabis users and non-users alike as anyone who does not want to see dispensaries, don’t have to. However, locals and visitors can consume Cannabis at the privacy of the club.
This is better than the situation in Denver, Colorado, where you can buy Cannabis legally and use at home on your own premises… but as a visitor, it’s a different story. You may be able to buy the Cannabis but the challenge is finding a place to consume it legally as you still cannot smoke, vape or consume it in any manner in public areas.
For more information on the Cannabis clubs, I have written a post about the Cannabis Clubs of Barcelona, that I recommend you check out.
Availability of Cannabis in Spain
As Spain, especially Catalonia, is fast becoming the ‘Cannabis capital’ of Europe, the production of Cannabis is becoming a noticeable contributor to the otherwise struggling Spanish economy.
Legal production is dominated by small-scale growers for personal use. Cannabis clubs are also able to grow Marijuana for their members under the Spanish legal framework.
Being located in Southern Europe, the entire country is perfect for Cannabis cultivation. Outdoor production is common and the quality of Cannabis that can be obtained in the clubs are of good to high quality.
The price varies between 5.5 to 15 Euros/gram. It largely depends on the quality of the buds.
Here is an image of the available strains at a Barcelona Cannabis club:
What’s the future of Cannabis in Spain?
It is likely that Spain will continue its current policy and as a result, it is likely to push Barcelona into the number one position as Europe’s leading Cannabis friendly destination.
The excellent climate, the amazing cuisine, and warm Spanish hospitality are all great additions to the Marijuana friendly legal framework.
The success of the Spanish ‘system’ is not going unnoticed, other countries are watching closely and making notes.
New Zealand is among several countries that are studying the success of the Cannabis clubs in Spain and hopefully the Spanish will set the standard for how to successfully decriminalise Cannabis.