With the yearly migration of almost the entire hydroponics industry to Barcelona for the Spannabis show this year (not that it happened in the end) the cannabis business in Barcelona is booming, and not only that, it is booming at a phenomenal rate. Barcelona is quickly becoming the “go to” place to visit in Europe (giving Amsterdam a run for its money) for cannabis users, enthusiasts and activists.
Here is a quick run down of what you need to know about the rules, clubs, practices and law in this beautiful historic, artistic city.
The cannabis clubs inBarcelonaare all private clubs and are strictly invite only. Don’t just show up knocking at the door without an invitation or a recommendation. If you do you will definitely be refused and probably asked to not return.
So if your coming in to town and don’t have anyone that can introduce you, don’t worry all is not lost, most of the clubs have an online information request/application form that, once filled in and submitted, will generate an “invitation”, which you can then take with you when you visit the club and become a member.
Should the club you have applied for not wish to take (they say “make”) any more members they will notify you almost immediately. This can change from day to day. So if there is a particular club you which to attend and have not been successful, try again in 24hrs. You might get lucky.
Some clubs don’t have the web invite option, these tend to be the more sought after clubs and are mainly for locals and or friends of the locals or the club itself. If you don’t have a personal recommendation for these places you will find it very hard to get in/become a member. It’s always worth sending them a nice email asking them if you could potentially become a temporary member for the duration of your stay, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up if I was you.
After you have completed the first stage “the invitation” you will need to take that to the club with a form of valid photo ID. A passport or driving license is perfect. To become a member you will have to pay a joining membership fee (most last 12 Months) and cost between €5-€40 Ideally paid in cash. You can pay by card in some clubs but cash is preferred so I would make sure to visit an ATM before you go to avoid any problems.
The staff member will then complete your membership using the information you supplied and your ID and then you will be issued with either a card or fob.
Normal procedure when you return to the club dictates that if if you have a membership card then you will have to present your ID with your card every time you enter, no ID, no entry. If you have been issued with a fob, you will be able to come and go as you please, clocking yourself in and out via the main reception desk. They do sometimes do stop spot checks so if you do get a fob it’s always good practice to carry your ID with you anyway.
Now you have your membership card/fob you need to put credit on it to spend. In the club as once you go through from the main reception itself there are no cash transactions. Which is understandable, practical and much safer for everyone all round. It’s not advised to get any cash out in the club, even if your just counting it or passing it between friends as it could be misconstrued to onlookers as in-club illegal deal or transaction. If that is the case and you get caught chances are you will be asked to leave and banned from returning. The clubs do talk with each other and to be frank, they don’t play. If you get banned from one the chances are you will be banned from them all.
You can top your membership card/fob up with as little or as much as you like. Again it’s preferred that this is always in cash. As a first top up I would say no less then €20.
Now all that’s done it’s time to enter the club. Depending on what time you go the club can be quiet or very busy. If it is busy, there maybe minimal seating available. If this is the case and let’s say there is 2 vacant seats on a 4 or 6 table, it is perfectly ok to ask if those seats are available and, if so, sit at the same table as others that didn’t come with you. This seems obvious to me, but depending on where you are from, accompanied by being in an unfamiliar environment, you may feel like you would be imposing. Well I’m letting you know now that, that’s not the case. It’s ok.
Next thing I want to talk about is the etiquette of heading up to the bar to make a purchase. Some cannabis clubs present the prices along side their product and some don’t. Yes it is ok to ask about the price, but just be sure to ask everything else first. So if you are wanting pain relief ask what’s best for what ailments, what are the options. If it’s recreational, let them know the “high” you are after, what the options for ingestion are or how long you want the effects to last for. Bottom line is, it is frowned upon to just be focused on the price and all “how much is that?, how much is this?”. Ask questions to determine what you want and then ask the price.
Now you have made your choice you will need to present your card or fob for payment. The cards will have a membership number printed on which relates to your prepaid account. This number will be taken and the amount will be deducted from your membership account. If it’s a fob this is all done electronically. At that point they will normally relay back to you to total cost of your purchases and what is left on your card and your good to go and enjoy.
Drinks both alcoholic and non, and a selection of cafe food are available in all clubs (normally at a separate counter) and again this is all paid for with your membership card and or fob.
Most members welcome conversation from like minded people but just keep in mind to not impose on other people’s conversation. Likewise sharing your cannabis with others is fine, but do let them know what it is first. Likewise it’s common courtesy that if you add anything or mix your cannabis with tobacco for example then you should make the person you are sharing it with aware of this fact.
On the flip side though if you are just wanting to quietly chill out and enjoy your own company that’s cool to and Most clubs supply free Wi-Fi allowing you to perhaps focus in and get some work done or just switch off from the real world for a bit.
All clubs have grinders on the tables for free use and if any other paraphernalia is required, such as rolling papers or filters/tips, then these can be brought in with you or purchased at the counter.
When it’s time to leave the club there are a few things you should know and bear in mind. It is illegal to carry or use cannabis in public. The police and the less desirables know this And know exactly where the clubs are despite their presence being very discreet to the general public.
Unfortunately It is becoming more and more common for the police to be parked up waiting for people to exit who have perhaps got a little carried away, with the intention of searching them, arresting them or fining them. Tourists unfortunately also make for easy pickings for the criminal element who may target you to steal cannabis, money or other belongings. For advice on getting past this and the best protocol to adopt, it is best to ask a staff member of the club.
Which brings me nicely on to my next point. What is the Law on cannabis in Barcelona and Spain as a whole?
Cannabis in Spain is illegal for commercial purposes such as sale and trade but decriminalised for personal cultivation and use. Consumption and cultivation by adults in a private space is legal, cultivation being legal under the terms that it is shown to be for personal use only.
The legal grey areas in Spanish legislation makes cannabis clubs a popular way to obtain and use cannabis in technically a legal private collective. The trick is you don’t pay for the weed its self, you pay for the labour etc it cost to produce. So technically you are not paying or buying cannabis. Rules for clubs dictate that they only distribute cannabis to members aged over 18 and they are limited to producing 150kg of the dried drug a year. It is a system that is obviously working well, as there are currently over 200 clubs in Barcelona alone.
There you have it a smokers guide to getting stoned in Barcelona. If you have never been, it’s well worth the trip. The cannabis clubs are great, the city is beautiful, the people are fantastic and the weed is first class.
Big Thank you to Stony Tark, Nav from Trichrome Jungle, Lorenzo and all the gang at 1UP club BCN.
By Rich Hamilton
- Audio Article Link coming soon.
This article was sponsored by The Growers Guide. Use voucher code THCARTICLES for 20% off your next order via www.thegrowersguide.com