The Cannabis Social Club model, consolidated in Barcelona over the past decade, could see its days numbered. The courts overturned a regulation approved by the city council in 2016 that governed the more than 200 such premises in the city. With this decision, confirmed by the Supreme Court, the last legal umbrella left to these spaces has disappeared.
The TSJC, or in other words, the High Court of Justice of Catalonia, has ruled that cannabis associations can only function as private clubs and cannot promote the use and consumption of cannabis, nor its sale. or its culture.
Barcelona cannabis associations in the spotlight of the inspection
In 2016, Barcelona City Council approved a “special urban plan” in which cannabis associations were ordered territorially. The objective was to reduce the nuisance for the neighborhood and to avoid concentrating the Clubs to improve coexistence with the population.
This territorial organization of the Barcelona City Council was annulled by the Court of Justice of Catalonia on the grounds that no municipality is competent to create a regulation of this nature “not even from the point of view of town planning, because it considers that these are spaces liable to commit crimes ”. The city council lodged an appeal in cassation with the Spanish Supreme Court, which in April rejected the appeal lodged by the city council.
Now, in order to enforce the law, Barcelona city council will have to inspect and control these cannabis associations. The first to be inspected will be the clubs that have the most negative impact, namely those that focus on tourists and large-scale sales. Then the self-consumption associations and other consumer groups will follow on the list of inspections.
In turn, these cannabis associations will be informed by letter of the current situation. The Catalan City Council has created an internal working group in the fields of “legal services, health, safety and town planning” in order to compile the various proposals for amending the law at the Spanish state level and the region, which will be studied by the two authorities.
CATFAC calls for dialogue between all stakeholders
The Cannabis Associations of Catalonia (CATFAC) regret the decision of the High Court of Catalonia which obliges them to operate as private cannabis clubs and not to be able to promote the consumption, cultivation or sale of cannabis.
CATFAC was keen to make its position clear and said: “We have come to stay and we will stay”. For the Federation of Cannabis Associations of Catalonia, this setback of the courts would be a “new legal attack” against its activities, and it calls for “dialogue and courage” on the part of the Barcelona City Council to give a “coordinated response” to this question so deeply rooted in the city.
CATFAC calls for firmness in the face of the state’s inaction “We ask all political representatives to use all democratic tools to reverse this situation. Do not give in to the state’s inaction. If there is a time to be brave, it is now, and regulating cannabis associations today is an urgent matter ”.
“Once again, the judiciary charges cannabis associations without taking into account the social reality of the city of Barcelona, which has lived with these entities for over 30 years,” complains the Federation of Cannabis Associations. “Instead of analyzing a model clearly aimed at achieving human security, it once again applies its punitive strategy of repression and annihilation of an internationally recognized and pioneering model of access to cannabis in Europe”.
“From now on, we will not stand idly by and we will respond actively to the repressive machine until we obtain the recognition of an acquired right”, they conclude.
Barcelona Cannabis Clubs
Cannabis associations in Barcelona have been present in the cityscape for over a decade. On several occasions, through the intermediary of the Catalan government or the city of Barcelona itself, formulas have been sought so that this type of association can remain legal.
But sometimes for legal reasons, and other times because they do not fall under the competences of the regulatory institution, this type of clubs or associations could not be legalized and continue to remain in a kind of “legal limbo”. Today, the Superior Court of Catalonia has annulled an initiative of the Barcelona City Council and encourages it to inspect this type of associations.
The same court ruling states that these associations should not be allowed to promote the consumption, cultivation or sale of cannabis. This decision of the TSJC did not please the cannabis associations grouped together in its Federation, which for years demanded the regulation of this type of groups.
The city of Barcelona is the city with the most cannabis associations in Spain. It is also an international point of reference for many tourists who visit the city and seek access to cannabis.