By Roland Sebestyén
Famed cannabis social clubs in Spain are facing closure after a landmark decision by the Supreme Court that is set to close the legal loophole that has led to their popularity.
According to The Guardian, the 200 cannabis clubs in Barcelona are now in jeopardy after the court decided to overturn its 2017 ruling that “private consumption of cannabis by adults is part of the exercise of the fundamental right to free personal development and freedom of conscience.”
Cannabis cultivation, consumption and distribution was essentially legalised in Catalonia for members of private cannabis clubs in 2017, leading to a prosperous market.
Cannabis social clubs have been run under a Barcelona city bylaw for years, however, the supreme court’s ruling means that the authorities in the city are no longer “competent” to legislate on matters governed by the state.
Cannabis businesses will now be told that the sale, consumption or promotion of cannabis will be prohibited in Spain, including in Barcelona, where 70% of the country’s cannabis clubs are located.
Eric Asensio, the spokesman for the Federation of Catalan Cannabis Associations, told The Guardian: “The majority of associations assume that sooner or later they will be forced to close down.
“Once again the judiciary is attacking the associations without taking into account the reality of Barcelona, a city that has co-existed with these entities for more than 30 years.
“The Barcelona associations are a pioneering model in Europe, exported internationally, the application of new drugs policies that focus on the individual and their health.
“What’s needed is a legal framework that recognises the existing reality and to obtain the necessary regulatory mechanisms in collaboration with the public authorities, with a clear emphasis on public health.”
As we reported last year, the Spanish cannabis market is a big one, with cannabis businesses such as social clubs attracting millions of tourists every year.
According to Canna Byte, there are four million local consumers, as well as around 6.5-12.5 million people spending time in the country to enjoy cannabis every year.
While cannabis is still illegal for commercial purposes in Spain, cultivation and personal use have been decriminalised
Although cannabis in Spain is still illegal for commercial purposes, personal use and cultivation have been decriminalised.