Marijuana in Spain: From the Place of the Facts | Canna Law Blog ™

In Spain, laws on cannabis have been progressively relaxed to the point where Spain is now one of the most liberal countries in relation to cannabis in Europe. Spain is a relatively decentralized state, and the autonomous communities have a high degree of autonomy. Consequently, each region can establish its own policies and regulations, and take its own measures, with respect to marijuana. Catalonia, where I am, has actually become the center of Spain for cannabis. In fact, Barcelona, ​​the capital of Catalonia, has more than two hundred clubs of cannabis, while in Madrid, clubs are less numerous.

Cannabis industry and culture in Spain will continue to expand and developing. Almost 10% of the Spanish population consumed marijuana in the last year, and in much of Spain, the climate is perfect for growing cannabis. In addition to the numerous private cannabis clubs that have sprung up here in Barcelona, ​​you can often see (and smell) cannabis that is smoked in public, in the squares and outside bars and discos, in many Spanish cities. Despite the illegality of consuming on public roads, in many cities in Spain, this type of cannabis use is often overlooked by the police. It would be an atypical Friday or Saturday if you went through the streets of central Barcelona and there would be no cannabis smell anywhere.

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In addition to the abundant crop that is produced at national level, a significant amount of hashish From Morocco. In its annual report for 2015, the UN International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has stressed that Spain is one of the main entry points for cannabis produced in Morocco.

During the general elections in Spain in late 2015, some of the political parties opened the controversy by declaring their intention to legalize marijuana in order to control consumption and to eliminate or at least greatly reduce the illegal market . Policy discussions have focused on narrower regulation through, inter alia, the establishment of a 21-year minimum age for consumption and more information on cannabis use and, therefore, responsible and moderate consumption. We have already received several inquiries from Spain to obtain information and our opinion on how the different states of the United States have handled their legalization.

Smoking clubs began in Spain in 1993, when the pro-legalization Association of Cannabis Studies Association (ARSEC) (based in Barcelona, ​​of course) opened a new path by written to the prosecutor to ask him about the legality of the cultivation of cannabis for the consumption of a group of adult members. The prosecution's response was that the concept was not illegal, in principle, so the group embarked on a farming experiment, which was broadcast by the media. Despite the very favorable opinion of the prosecution, the harvest was seized by the police and members of the group were arrested. They were later acquitted by the Provincial Court but two years later the Supreme Court ruled that while cannabis was not intended for commercial purposes, the cultivation of cannabis by collectives was undesirable and should be penalized.

However, other groups soon emerged that challenged the ruling, and the Kalmudia association in Bilbao was the first in 1997 to successfully complete a harvest without facing any legal obstacles. In 2000, after completing three harvests without incident, the collectives began to seek a legal framework for their activities. The first cannabis social club in Spain, the Barcelona Cannabis Collectors Club (CCCB), was founded in 2001. Between 2001 and 2003, the Supreme Court passed a series of resolutions which established that possession of even large quantities of cannabis was not a criminal offense if it could not be established that there was intention of trafficking or sale for profit. These historic resolutions paved the way for the explosion of cannabis clubs.

Note: Nadja Vietz joined our firm in 2005, and was working from the Seattle office. Earlier this month, Nadja established a new Harris Bricken office in Barcelona, ​​which will allow us to offer better legal advice in Spanish and European law to our clients. Nadja, a law graduate and collegiate in Germany, Spain and the state of Washington, USA, will lead the office. She speaks fluently English, Spanish, German and French and understands Catalan and Russian. With all that has been happening with cannabis in Europe and with the opening of our office there, we will be covering Europe more and more here in the blog, with a particular focus on Spain.

  • Adam Floyd