Whether you’re a local in Barcelona or a tourist who will be visiting, you might have an interest in joining a Cannabis Social Club. If you’re at all a cannabis enthusiast, there is a lot to enjoy in Barcelona. It is quickly becoming a new Amsterdam, a new mecca in the heart of Europe to enjoy fine cannabis – and legally!
But before you get too excited about the prospect of smoking legal weed in Barcelona, you first have to join a Cannabis Club. You will need to know a few things about how to become a member, and you’ll also need to know a few things about staying within the boundaries of the law. To mitigate some of the complexities of these things, we’re here to help. So here is the complete and ultimate guide about what you need to know to join a Cannabis Social Club.
What Is A Cannabis Club?
A Cannabis Club is a private, members-only organization where a limited amount of cannabis can be provided to members on the premises. It is, essentially, a Social Club, where people can enjoy using marijuana together in the safety of a legal location. You can consider it a lot like the coffeeshops in Amsterdam. Sometimes food is served there, too, so members can satisfy the munchies.
Cannabis Clubs are only open to members, and this guide is all about informing you on how to become a member. Without a membership, you can’t enter the club and you definitely can’t purchase cannabis in there.
A Brief History Of Cannabis Social Clubs In Barcelona
Just like the rest of the world, Spain has been operating under the constraints of a very long and strict prohibition on cannabis and other drugs. However, in 2015, the Spanish government made a legal reform to decriminalize the personal use, cultivation and possession of marijuana. The change didn’t provide any leniency towards commercial trafficking of marijuana, however.
So, in perfect Spanish fashion, many people courageously opened Cannabis Social Clubs whose foundation was based in a big loophole in the law. Under the Penal Code, marijuana may be cultivated for personal use and possession of an amount of marijuana that constitutes personal use is not deemed a crime.
What that spawned was a group of Social Clubs where, firstly, a membership fee was required. In this way, there was no “trafficking” of cannabis. Rather, for a fee to become a member, one had access to the cannabis of the social club. Secondly, Social Clubs only grew what was considered to be “personal use” of their members. And finally, smoking was only permitted in the social club which was private property and outside of the public eye. And just like that, Social Clubs met all the requirements of the Spanish Penal Code to operate without breaking the law.
There are now hundreds of social clubs all over Spain, with the majority of them concentrated in Barcelona. The clubs have been under close observation by the Spanish authorities to ensure that they continue to operate within the parameters of the law. With that being said, many have been shut down due to unlawful behaviour. Many of them remain open and there is hope for legalization in the future.
How Do You Become A Member Of A Cannabis Social Club?
In order to become a member of a cannabis social club, you first need to meet the entry requirements. They are very basic requirements that ensure the club is operating legally. You need:
- To be over 18 or over 21 depending on the club’s rules about age
- Be able to show a government-issued photo identification, whether it is a driver’s license, passport etc.
- A Spanish address
- Have a referral from a sponsor or another member of the same club
As you can see, there is nothing complicated about what is required to become a member. Most social clubs will accept a driver’s license, a visa, a passport, a valid ID card or any other kind of photo identification. The Spanish address doesn’t need to be a permanent home address. For the most part, a hotel or temporary accommodation will do the trick. The most difficult thing to obtain is the referral from a sponsor or member of the club you wish to join. The easiest way to get the referral is to know somebody who is already a member of that club and ask them to refer you.
Once you have these four things, you must make an appointment to enter the social club. This is usually organized by the person who gave you the referral. You bring your photo ID with you along with some money to pay for your membership fee (this will vary from club to club). Once you’ve “passed the interview” you’ll be given a membership card which you will bring with you every time you want to enter the club!
Can Tourists Become Members Of Cannabis Social Clubs?
There is no reason why tourists cannot become members of cannabis social clubs. So long as they are referred by a current member and can provide all of the necessary documentation and fees, there is nothing stopping a tourist from becoming a member of a social club. With that being said, each club has its own individual rules and regulations to maintain discretion and legal requirements. A certain club may not permit tourists but only citizens of Spain. It is up to you to enquire into the needs of each club and whether or not you are permitted, as a tourist, to purchase a membership. Alternatively, we can assist you in joining a cannabis club and act at your referrer.
In fact, as a tourist, you will often find many people on La Rambla who are “selling” their referrals so that you can join the club. It’s worth noting that that kind of behaviour is actually illegal. Nonetheless, it does happen, and it makes it very easy for tourists to obtain referrals.
Is It Legal To Join A Cannabis Social Club?
It is legal to join a cannabis social club. Now that you know that, it doesn’t mean that every cannabis club is operating legally. If it is not operating legally, then it’s pretty obvious that joining that particular cannabis club is illegal. Under the Spanish Penal Code, it is illegal to participate in the commercial trafficking of marijuana. If that is taking place in a cannabis social club, joining that club might be deemed as unlawful behaviour. With that being said, association with criminals is not a crime in Spain.
So, the short answer is – yes. It is legal to join a cannabis club in Barcelona or anywhere else in Spain. But it’s best to know a little something about the club in question before you join, just to make sure that you’re not accidentally walking into any legal issues.
How Much Does It Cost To Join A Cannabis Club?
For the most part, joining a cannabis club in Barcelona will require an annual membership fee of 20-30 Euros. It’s hard to find a cannabis social club that charges more than that, and if they do, they are probably just trying to extort the member.
As a general rule, there’s no need to pay more than 20- 30 Euros as a membership fee. You will continue to “donate” every time you want to use cannabis in the club. Most places won’t charge more than 30 anyway.
It is technically illegal to “purchase” weed. So what happens once you are a member is that you will pay a “donation” to consume the weed on the property. Most of the time, you will give 5-15 Euros in exchange for 1 gram of hashish or marijuana. This can vary from club to club. If multiple strains are available, certain strains may cost more than others. It will all depend on the club and which strains they have available.
Which Cannabis Club Should You Join?
A good cannabis club boils down to some pretty epic essentials:
- It should be operated legally
- It should have a good vibe
- The cannabis should be high quality
- It should be affordable
If it’s lacking in any of these essentials, then what’s the point in joining? There are clubs scattered all over Barcelona, some of which are awesome and some of which are not. But in the final straw, it will come down to your preferences about what you want from a cannabis club.
Here’s a list of some popular clubs and what they are the most well known for:
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Address: Carrer de les Jonqueres, 13 | Age: 21 + | Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday 12pm – 12am
Nearest Metro: Urquinaona (1 min walk)
If you’re into art, then Choko is the perfect place to go and get your creative interests piqued. Cannabis is best enjoyed with a great painting or great music – which is exactly what Choko is known for. There’s always great tunes playing in the background of your smoking experience, and the walls and staircases are adorned with local art and sculptures.
Sometimes, Barcelona cannabis clubs have a dingy feel that doesn’t at all look like the designers put any creative flair to the place. That’s where Choko is different. It’s really obvious that the makers of Choko put a lot of effort into creating the aesthetic cannabis experience. And on top of all of that, Choko has its own house strain of weed; Choko!
Conveniently located in the heart of Barcelona, Choko is one of those perfect cannabis clubs for the non-conventional working person who likes art just as much as they like weed.
Style is a big factor at WeedBud and that’s why a lot of people join this Barcelona cannabis club. It’s also extremely competitive in terms of price and quality of weed for the entire district of El Raval. For those who don’t know the city, El Raval is one of the biggest tourist districts. For that reason, the clubs in the are aren’t that great and just designed to lure in gullable tourists. WeedBud isn’t though. It’s perfectly located and has great strains, great vibes and great style. Request an Invitation
This club is most well known for having a great atmosphere. It doesn’t boast itself with decor or fancy technology such as projectors and video games. But it does seem to draw in a pretty chill crowd and the staff are known to be friendly.
Dragon Cannabis Club
Dragon Cannabis Club is popular among tourists and locals because it’s in one of the coolest places in Barcelona – El Born. The place is decked out with fancy leather seating, which is appropriate for the boutique style of the whole area. They also stock some great strains.
Barcelona Weed Club
If you like to smoke in style, you’ll probably like the Barcelona Weed Club. The decor is fancy and the vibe in there is designed to impress. Don’t be surprised if membership fees are expensive for this place – especially if you’re a tourist! If you don’t mind paying 50 Euros just to be a member of this fancy looking place, then you’ll definitely be getting high in fine Barcelona fashion.
Barcelona Coffee Shop
This is the cannabis club for all those who don’t care about style but want to keep damage on the pocket low. The Barcelona Coffee Shop is famous for having the best prices. They have a good range of strains, although nothing about the look of the place is anything to rave about. But maybe that means nothing to a student stoner who just wants to smoke without having to break the bank!
G13 is for the upmarket smoker. It’s close to Sagrada Familia, so if you fancy some stoned sightseeing, this might be the best place to go. This place has the wow factor that can be hard to find at other clubs. It’s dainty, cute and full of personality. The couches are divine, there are candles all over the place and you really feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale when you enter this place. Even if it’s not the cheapest, you won’t be disappointed when you visit.
This list is definitely not conclusive! There are hundreds of cannabis bars all over Barcelona, and choosing one is about what you want, what part of the city you’re in and who you know that attends the same club. Preferences will be different from person to person, and maybe it’s even worth joining more than one club to have access to different styles and vibes! The best thing to do is go on the recommendations of people you know in and around the city.
What Can You Do In A Cannabis Club?
As you can imagine, a cannabis club has some rules and regulations. There are some pretty strict guidelines about what you can and can’t do in there, and more importantly, what you do when you’ve left the place!
You don’t “buy” weed
To begin with, you can’t “buy” weed in there. If you could, that would technically be participating in the illegal trafficking of commercial weed, wouldn’t it? So you don’t buy it, you just “acquire” it, and the money you leave is a donation for the team to continue growing and cultivating the weed of the private club.
You can smoke inside the club
Secondly, you can smoke inside the club. Usually, the staff provide a mixing bowl, an ashtray and even some smoking paraphernalia. You are free to roll joints using the free papers and roach cards that they provide and you can make the most out of the amenities that the club offers.
You can enjoy movies, music and games
Different clubs offer different services and amenities. For example, some have big projector screens where they play music videos or movies. Others have arcade games or pool tables, while others have almost nothing except some music to enjoy. You might even find a fooseball table in some of the clubs you visit. You can always participate in these services when you enter the club as a member.
You can eat and drink inside the club
Certain clubs may have policies about consuming alcohol, so it’s best to ask the staff before you enter what is and is not allowed with respect to booze. However, most clubs let you bring your own food so that you can chow down on some munchies inside. Some clubs may even serve basic food or snacks. You can also bring your own non-alcoholic beverages inside all clubs.
You can only get a limited amount
Clubs are limited on how much cannabis they are allowed to serve to customers. If they cross the line, then it becomes obvious that they are giving more than just the “personal” use to their customers. Most of the time, this is a pretty generous amount – such as a maximum of 5g per person.
You can’t take weed off the premises
One of the downsides of Spanish law is that you can’t take weed off the premises of the cannabis social club. You’re required to either consume all of the cannabis you’ve purchased or you have to leave it behind. It’s illegal to take your cannabis out onto the streets and if you are caught close to a cannabis club with cannabis in your pocket, you and the club might be in big trouble.
What Are Your Legal Rights As A Cannabis Club Member?
It’s important to realize that so long as the cannabis club itself is operating within the parameters of the law, then you are protected as as a cannabis club member. You are also required to comply with the rules of the club in order to have legal protections as a member. As soon as you break the rules, then you’re no longer protected as a member of the club.
You have the right to consume cannabis on the premises. It is not illegal for you to consume cannabis in a private space, and a cannabis club is the perfect private, members only spot that you can do that. By consuming cannabis on the premises, you’re not in violation of any Spanish law.
You are also well within your legal rights to join a cannabis club. There is nothing illegal about becoming a member. As we mentioned earlier, there are certain compliance rules as a member (such as discretion, keeping cannabis on the premises etc) that are conditions of being a member. It is important to adhere to these.
What Other Legal Provisions Should You Be Aware Of As A Cannabis Club Member?
The most important provisions you need to be aware of are those that are outlined by the cannabis club that you are joining. For example, some will require you to say nothing at the door except to present your membership card. This is a way to maintain discretion and to avoid disrupting the local community.
The most common rule among cannabis clubs is that no cannabis should be removed from the private property of the club itself. It is not legal to go inside, purchase cannabis and leave. This is in violation of Spanish law, and clubs can be penalised or even shut down for allowing this to happen.
It is also illegal to be in possession of or to use cannabis in a public place. The police can arrest you for this. This is why it is important to consume cannabis on the premises and to leave in a discreet way so as to avoid attention from authorities.
Do’s And Don’ts Of Joining A Cannabis Club
If you stick to this general outline of “dos and don’ts” then you should thoroughly enjoy being a member of a cannabis club!
DO enjoy the free amenities
Many cannabis clubs offer free papers, free roaches and free paraphernalia. Feel free to ask the club what freebies they include as membership, and do enjoy them!
DO ask for advice about strains
Most of the time, the people behind the desk of the cannabis club know a lot about the different strains they have. If you have a particular ailment or are looking for a certain experience, don’t hesitate to ask the staff on which strain is the best one to use.
DO bring food and drinks with you
As we mentioned earlier in the guide, alcohol may not be permitted. That’s something to ask when you’re getting your membership. Otherwise, most clubs are totally open with you bringing in food and non-alcoholic beverages. Enjoy having a meal and a coffee with your cannabis experience in the safety and cosiness of the cannabis club.
DON’T take weed out of the club
We’ve said this a million times, but it’s worth mentioning it again. All cannabis obtained on the premises needs to be consumed on the premises. You shouldn’t be going in there just to fill up your pockets and leave.
DON’T buy weed for anyone outside the club
This ties in with the last “don’t”. If you go inside a club to purchase weed for someone outside the club, you’re actually participating in illegal trafficking and commercial sale of weed. Don’t do it.
DON’T buy weed from anyone inside the club
If someone inside the club offers to sell you some weed, say no and immediately notify staff. If you’re caught buying weed off another club member, you could be in big trouble and they could even take away your membership.
Final Considerations Before Joining A Cannabis Club
There are some final things to think about before deciding whether joining a cannabis club is a good idea for you or not. For most people, these considerations really aren’t a big deal, but for others they might be a deal breaker.
There’s a legal limit per person
Most of the time, that legal limit is 2 ounces per month. Ah, that’s a lot of weed for a single person. If you smoke more than that, there’s no judgement here. But be aware that in order to stay legal under Spanish law, the maximum that is accepted as “personal use” is 2 ounces in a monthly time span. Clubs keep a record of how much is distributed to each person and when the limit is reached, no more cannabis is provided.
It’s worth knowing where the weed comes from
You might not always be able to get a straight answer on where the cannabis or hashish of a club comes from. But it’s really valuable when they can tell you all about it. Be aware that sometimes, the origin of what you’ll be smoking is a little bit shady. If you find a club that is open and honest about where they grow their cannabis and how they make their hash, that’s a club to hang on to!
So, the final question is whether you should join a cannabis club or not! Well, if you live in Barcelona and you like to smoke the occasional (or regular) joint, then why not? It’s a great service that cannabis clubs can offer, and more often than not, they are cool places to hang out. It’s really about finding the perfect cannabis club for you, which can take a little bit of time. In any case, as a tourist or a local, cannabis clubs are something to enjoy about Barcelona and the rest of Spain.
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