Legal Status of Marijuana in Spain
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Delicious food, beaches, and stunning history. All are terrific reasons for coming to Spain. On top of this, the cannabis laws have just changed (again). This impacts Catalonia immediately, but also on a federal level reform is looking more achievable here in the land of the siesta.
Elevator pitch? If you are in Barcelona (which is the capital of Catalonia), and belong to a cannabis club, this means you can even pop into a cannabis club for lunch instead of a noon-day snooze.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN SPAIN
Legal. There are also several research efforts ongoing in the country dedicated to cannabinoid research. Medicines like Sativex and Marinol have been available for patients for some years already.
That said, many people find it easier – and cheaper – to grow or buy their own. Or belong to a cannabis club.
RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA IN SPAIN
This varies and is still unclear at some point. The law differs regionally. The rule for all of Spain is that private consumption is technically still illegal. It has however been decriminalized in the sense that you will not go to jail for possession, but most likely get away with a fine. But this is not the whole picture.
Since 1993, cannabis cultivation and consumption in private cannabis clubs in Catalonia has technically been beyond the reach of the law because of a decision made by a drug prosecutor in Barcelona. This caused a semi-legalization situation in Catalonia.
This paved the way for a "cannabis club" system, where people pay a fee to be able to smoke marijuana. Due to the fact that the system is kind of unclear on what is allowed and what is not, this has led to increased showdowns between authorities and club owners in various cities all over Spain who have been allowed to set up shop.
As of summer 2017 however, the Catalonia region of Spain legalized cannabis cultivation and consumption for and only within the cannabis clubs. This removes the grey areas of the law regionally at least.
The clubs in Catalonia can now regulate their supply. That means they can grow up to 150kg of dried cannabis a year to support their clients.
Cannabis clubs, however, require that you have a membership. This usually kicks in after a two-week waiting period. Short-term tourists are highly discouraged. That said, especially now, and even more especially in Barcelona, access should not be a problem.
If you are over 21, you can purchase up to 60 grams a month via your club. Those between 18-21 can buy no more than 20 grams a month.
Although this is all great news, the rules are officially saying that when you are a member of a club, you should leave your weed in a personal locker when you leave the establishment because possession and smoking in public, is still illegal.
Cannabis edibles are also not yet allowed.
And remember that what goes down in Catalonia does not (yet) fly elsewhere in Spain. This is a region of the country known for its fierce independence.
Be aware of where you have weed, in other words.
WHAT COULD HAPPEN IF YOU WERE TO GET CAUGHT BY THE POLICE WITH CANNABIS ON YOUR PERSON?
If it just a few grams, then usually nothing serious happens. If you are of age, not smoking in public and in Barcelona, the cops will most likely make you throw away your stash and send you off with a warning.
If you are caught growing plants, underage, or in a place other than Catalonia, be very careful. If caught with a bigger amount of weed (over 10 grams), or worse, selling it, you can be sure you will face penalties.
That said, it must be also said that if the cops really want, they can still give you a good hassle for possession of even small quantities and even give you a pretty serious fine. Also in Barcelona.
There is a looming showdown between the federal government and the regional Catalonian government over cannabis. That said, it is likely that the Barcelona region will be allowed to continue with its experiment. The rest of the country will hopefully follow suit eventually.
Medical research here may also change federal opinion if not law. That is not in the cards for the next several years.