Barcelona Passes 1-Year Ban on New Cannabis Clubs
July 21st, 2014
Categories : Blog
In a bid to crack down on Barcelona's growing gaggle of cannabis clubs, the city council announced that no new clubs would be allowed to open in the city for one year.
This brief respite from new 'reefer roosts' will give the council time to draw up plans for tighter regulations. These regulations will address key areas for example the ventilation systems in clubs, as well as ensuring that the clubs are a sufficient distance away from schools and health centres. Enlisting the help of medical and pharmaceutical experts, the council will aim to apply pressure upon clubs who are acting unscrupulously and against the law.
At present, there are 160 cannabis clubs operating in Barcelona's busy streets. The council sees the ban as not only necessary, but as a way of halting the proliferation of the clubs. Barcelona has been transformed into what many have dubbed 'Amsterdam of the south.' The city has also seen a boom in tourism, as holiday-makers go in search of legal highs - despite technically being of private members-only status. Opening a cannabis club in the Catalan capital is (or was) remarkably easy. The owner just has to register as an association, agree to various terms and pass this information on to the local authority then voila! With the council now flexing their mandatory muscles the days of the 'pop-up puff shop' are most certainly over. Exploited loopholes like the running as not profit organization to grow and commercialize marijuana will no doubt be closed as will black market cannabis deals.
These misdemeanors have prompted the city council to act, despite traditionally tolerating the clubs who stayed in line. Police so far (according to a Bloomberg article) 'have already shut down at least four Barcelona clubs for alleged violations that include sales to minors, drug trafficking and hawking of membership to passersby.' Barcelona's deputy major Joaquim Forn (very much reinforcing the police's direct manner) said "We cannot allow there to be those who, in the guise of businesses, threaten the coexistence, health and wellbeing of the people." He also went on to express his and the government's shared concern for the health of people choosing to partake in such activities - emphasising "the effect of drugs on young people". Patricia Amiguet of the Federation of Associations of Catalonian Cannabis users aired her opinion saying “We need regulation, the proliferation of clubs is really corrupting the system. People have seen a way of making money."
However with the pressure well and truly on, the future of cannabis smoking associations hangs squarely in the balance. Tougher rules and regulations could spell the end for more establishments before they've even had the chance to open.