Spain has always been a beautiful place to go on vacation, Barcelona being their most toured city. Spain also comes in third place for the most amount of cannabis users in the continent of Europe. So, what does that mean for tourists looking for a quick high?
Can tourists smoke weed in Spain? As common as it is to see weed being smoked out in the open streets of Spain, no, tourists are generally not allowed to smoke weed out in the public of this country. The private cultivation of weed is legal, but to be seen smoking and selling it is not.
However, despite not being legal there is an exception; however, as long as the user is given permission by a private residence, they can smoke it. Besides the publicity rule, Spain is pretty lenient when it comes to cannabis. Like I said before, it’s still pretty common to see it being smoked in public, but as a tourist, I would not advise you to test out how lenient laws are in any foreign country.
Where Can You Smoke Cannabis in Spain?
Ever since they changed their laws in July of 2015 to decriminalize the tilling of the plant as long as it was out of the public eye, over 700 “cannabis clubs” have been opening across the country. They typically require memberships, but these clubs will both grow, supply, and allow you to smoke within the walls of their clubs.
Aside from having a membership and needing to be 21 to enter into these clubs, for most, you also have to be a Spanish resident. Which does not help much for tourists who were looking for a place to legally smoke. To obtain it legally, it must be given to you on private property or through having a cannabis club membership.
Spanish Weed Laws (and Loopholes)
Those that are caught selling weed can receive between 1 to 3 years of jail time. If you are caught smoking it out in public, you can be fined at least 300 euros (330 USD). Having any possession of it is also illegal, and police are allowed to stop and search. If you do have it on you, I would recommend keeping it under your clothes or in your underwear. Police need a warrant to be able to search your clothes.
Despite it being illegal to sell cannabis in Spain because the clubs are privately owned, they are able to work around that law and legally establish their businesses. Most clubs are for recreational use, some are for certain groups of people, and others are for medicinal purposes with doctors to aid the patients.
In Catalonia, medical marijuana was made legal, along with Sativex, for patients with sclerosis and cancer. And as a result of this, Barcelona has become the hotspot for most cannabis clubs. Over 400 of these clubs are located in Catalonia alone.
As a tourist, there may still be a way to work around this law, too, as long as you are comfortable with the idea, which I do not imagine many first-time travelers doing. Your best bet would be to make friends with Spanish citizens and ask to smoke in their house. Or ask if they could somehow acquire a club invite, I’m sure there are some clubs that are foreigner-friendly. Make sure you do your research right.
It is also illegal to take Spanish weed out of Spain even if a bordering country, like Portugal, has also decriminalized it. It is still considered drug trafficking, which is illegal. The amount of marijuana that is allowed to be grown is not a definite amount, but for those growing, it should still use caution and try to not grow more than what would be of necessary use in the privacy of the home.
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Let me clarify one thing in case it was not as clear in the previous section. For tourists, it is not illegal for you to visit these clubs, it is usually the rules of the club itself that prohibits you from joining. Cannabis clubs run a tight ship when it comes to their business and privacy, and they come with some pretty strict rules. However, it is not completely impossible to get into these clubs as a tourist.
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If you ask that friend you made while in Barcelona, they can aid you in the process of receiving a membership, other than that it will be a bit of a process for you. You will have to first find the club through the internet because they can be a bit hard to find if you are not familiar with the area. Once you find them on their preferred social media page, you will need to send them a message and request an invite.
When you reach the place, you will then have to ask for the specific person that you spoke to through their page and make an appointment. After you schedule the appointment, they will send you an email of your invitation, which you will then show when you go back for your appointment. All that you need to know and have to bring to the appointment should be included in that email.
Things to Remember
Some things that you should remember is they can’t actually sell the weed. You pay to become a member, and that money is what contributes to the upkeep and cultivation of the plant. Some clubs will have you pay a yearly fee in order to maintain your membership.
But once you are a member, you are free to enjoy the marijuana that they supply. Be aware, also, that not all clubs grow theirs “in-house.” And just like bars, most cannabis clubs will keep track of how much you consume and will not allow you any more after a certain point. They typically do ask you to write down and estimate how many grams per week you would be consuming.
But they are just estimating so that they can prepare to grow a certain amount, but you are not required to fulfill the amount you put down. But by writing it down, you are giving them the authorization to tend to whatever amount of cannabis you will require on your behalf. Most clubs will only allow you access to 5 grams a day, but each club is different.
For these cannabis clubs to promote themselves in public is also illegal. Those that do promote themselves on the streets are most likely a shady bunch and are not of good service anyway. Any reputable cannabis club will take great measures to ensure that the staff, members and facility itself are not violating any laws that may result in any type of prosecution.
If the clubs feel as if you are too much of a risk factor, they will make sure to deal with you. Depending on the type of risk you pose, you may not be able to return. This is also why they require you to have your photo ID on you at all times whenever you partake in their facilities, even if you are a frequent visitor. For tourists, it is valuable to also have your passport on you.
I think the best advice I can give you is to do your research before trying to go out and join a club. As long as you remember their rules and comply with how they conduct their business, you will not have anything to worry about as far as being subjected to Spanish weed laws. But as for any type of potentially risky behavior in a foreign country, always use discretion.
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