Spain’s weed culture is thriving. Cannabis clubs are everywhere in the larger cities like Barcelona and Madrid. Like the Netherlands, Spain is another country in Europe with pretty relaxed laws around weed use. Weed is legal to consume in Spain, however, there are a few caveats to the law you need to know about.
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Spain Weed Laws
At a national level, weed is illegal to consume, cultivate or sell in Spain. It has however been decriminalized, opening up a lot of legal grey areas. Spain has a right to privacy law, which basically means some laws don’t have jurisdiction within the privacy and comfort of your home. The right to privacy law, along with the decriminalization means you more or less have legal weed in Spain. Lighting up in public however will not be tolerated and can still land you in trouble. The same goes for selling weed.
Due to the privacy laws, Spanish residents can grow cannabis plants at home, provided that they are not in public view. There’s also no set limit on the number of plants you can grow, however legally it must be deemed for personal use.
Although selling weed in Spain remains illegal, there are some legal loopholes that get around it. Cannabis Clubs are those loopholes.
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In Spain, cannabis clubs are somewhat similar to coffeeshops in Amsterdam, however they operate in completely different ways. Coffeeshops are available to the entire adult public including tourists, are often advertised and can sell cannabis. Cannabis clubs on the other hand are only available to adult citizens of Spain, are not allowed to advertise, and can’t sell cannabis directly.
They are literally a club, and as such require membership. Some clubs even go as far as only granting membership if you know someone already in the club. You can smoke weed at them as they operate on private property. Cannabis clubs distribute weed to their members “for free”. In exchange for this members will contribute money to the club, to cover the costs of growing the weed and other costs associated.
Leaving cannabis clubs with weed on you is not encouraged, as this is still technically illegal. This also applies to anyone carrying weed with them in public. This reason lead to Catalonia amending its laws.
Legal Weed In Barcelona
Barcelona is a huge tourist hot spot for legal weed in Spain. This is mainly due to two factors. The first is that Barcelona is the capital city of Spain’s most recognized autonomous region, Catalonia. The second is that apart from Madrid, the nation’s capital, Barcelona is the only other city to have that true big city feeling. Because of these two reasons, Barcelona attracts a lot of tourism naturally.
Catalonia is currently the only region within Spain to have fully legalized recreational weed. The driving force behind this was a petition that gathered approximately 68,000 signatures from residents. This meant the Catalan government legally had to address the petition. At the time a lot of residents were caught possessing marijuana after leaving cannabis clubs, which still remained illegal. This prompted the public petition, which in turn lead to the amendments of the law. A large majority of the Catalan ministers supported the amendments, with 118 out of 127 ministers voting in favor.
These changes brought with it fairly tight regulations, as the Catalan government didn’t want Barcelona to turn into a new Amsterdam. Cannabis clubs can only operate as a club, not as a for-profit business. There’s also a 15 day waiting period between joining a club and accessing cannabis.
Another huge driver for cannabis culture in Barcelona is Spannabis, a huge cannabis conference. The first was held in 2002 and has been held every year since. The conference has everything from legal clinics to provide clarity around the region’s laws, to numerous entertainers, growers, breeders, doctors and more. It’s a great opportunity to learn about all aspects of the cannabis industry. For anyone interested in joining the emerging market it’s also a great networking opportunity.
Other Hot Spots For Tourists
Apart from Barcelona, you can find cannabis clubs and people openly smoking weed in most of the major cities. Madrid the nations capital is full of cannabis clubs, as is Valencia, the third largest city. In the South of the country Seville, Málaga and Granada are all fairly cannabis friendly cities. In the North, Bilbao and San Sebastian are great places to visit and are also fairly tolerant towards citizens and tourists smoking cannabis. The party island of Ibiza is also very tolerant towards cannabis (amongst other things).
Speaking of islands, the Canary Islands, an archipelago off the coast of Morocco is a must-visit. Apart from being very cannabis-friendly, these islands are the perfect mix between a tropical paradise fused together with Spanish culture. The largest island of Tenerife attracts around 4.9 million tourists per year, which is enormous when you consider that there are less than a million people that live there. Because of the large volume of tourists that visit the island each year, weed laws are very relaxed. Cannabis clubs aren’t hidden from the public eye nearly as much as they are on the mainland of Spain. Consuming in public is still illegal though, so although it’s easy to forget about that when visiting the tropical island, always keep that in mind.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the weed laws in the rest of Europe, have a read of our full list of all European countries.
Shitty Weed in Madrid
If you want to actually know what you’re consuming, sticking to flower might be your best bet. The very first scientific study conducted analyzing cannabis resin found most samples contained traces of human poo. A huge 88.3% of hashish samples tested were deemed unsuitable for consumption. The amount of E. coli (bacteria in feces) found was 500 times greater than both the European limit for fruit and tea, and the limit for weed in the United States.
This is a very alarming level, particularly given this is the first study conducted on cannabis resin. The study also found roughly 10% of samples tested contained a mold that can trigger infections in people with weak immune systems. It’s important to note however that the sample size was only 90 for this study, and was only conducted in Madrid.