Marbella is one of the most popular towns on the Costa del Sol, which is one of Spain’s most popular destinations for Spanish, European, and global travelers seeking a Mediterranean resort experience. The town is known for its beaches, resorts, restaurants, and nightlife. It is a favorite of the rich and famous. You don’t need to know much more to select it as a destination. But you will need to know how to stock up when you arrive.
How do you get weed in Marbella? If you have decided to visit Marbella and you want to know how to purchase cannabis while you are there, you need to understand the laws. You also need to understand how cannabis social clubs work, how to join one, and which ones in Marbella are the best. Once you know everything you need to know, you’ll be all set to enjoy your stay.
Spain has earned a reputation as a premier destination for canna-tourism. Still, the national laws and the local enforcement are a bit more complicated than what you will find in other cannabis culture tourist destinations. You need to have a basic understanding of what you can and cannot do and a general idea of how to get things done. That way you can avoid problems and have a good time.
Your Complete Guide to Getting Weed in Marbella
The entire country of Spain has decriminalized the use and possession of marijuana for individuals. That means that anyone in Spain can grow a limited amount of marijuana for personal use in the privacy of their own home. At the same time, something as simple as moving your plants onto a balcony where they are visible from a public street can be a finable offense.
Spanish police still arrest and prosecute anyone who is involved in smuggling. In June of last year, police in Marbella arrested 12 people and seized 3000 kgs of marijuana. In between the private citizens who grow their own and the criminals who smuggle and traffic, there are the cannabis social clubs (CSCs) that were created to give citizens who cannot or don’t want to grow their own access to safe, high-quality marijuana.
Cannabis social clubs have opened up a grey area in Spanish law surrounding the distribution of marijuana. Many CSCs found themselves on the wrong side of the law in the first 15 years of this century. They were never meant to be coffee shops or retail outlets, but many clubs pushed the envelope as far as they could. Others have done their best to live by both the spirit and the letter of the law.
As a visitor to Marbella, you need to know the laws that govern CSCs and personal use and possession to steer clear of problems. You also need to understand the history and the culture of the clubs to have a good experience when you visit one. This article will give you everything that you need to know to hit the ground running on your first visit to Marbella.
How to Join a Club
CSCs are private, members-only organizations that allow members to combine their legally permitted growing quotas under one roof. That means that the club either cultivates or buys the marijuana products on behalf of the members, and the members share those products amongst themselves. The clubs are meant to be a place where members socialize and use marijuana. Most clubs do allow members to take a certain amount with them for private use at home.
A non-member cannot walk into a cannabis club off the street and purchase marijuana. Any club that allowed someone to do so would be in violation of the law and would risk being shut down and losing the commonly owned holdings of their membership. In order to visit a club and use marijuana there or take some with you, you have to be a member.
How do you become a member of a CSC in Marbella? It isn’t a difficult process. You need to be over 18- or 21-years old, depending on the particular club’s rules. You need to show a photo ID like a driver’s license, passport, or visa. You need to provide a Spanish address—it doesn’t have to be a permanent address, and a hotel or hostel will usually work. Finally, you have to have a referral from a sponsor that is already a member of the club.
We will offer advice on how to find a sponsor later in this article. Once you have everything that you need to apply for membership, your sponsor will arrange a membership interview. You will pay a membership fee, and you will be issued a membership card. From that point forward, you will simply need to show your membership card to gain access to the club.
There are more than two dozen clubs in Marbella that make taking care of visitors to the area a priority. The clubs that survived the federal government’s crackdown on places that were playing fast and loose with the rules are all quality establishments that do things the right way and treat customers right. Most of these clubs go out of their way to make getting membership quick and easy.
Carlito’s Way is actually closer to Málaga than it is to Marbella, but it is worth the trip for anyone who is visiting the area for the first time. This club has one of the widest selections in the region, and they do the little things to make members feel welcome. There are plenty of smoking accessory options and lots of recreation and distractions.
The Tranquilo Social Club is just outside of Marbella in Calahonda. It is a club that has a reputation for competitive pricing and a relaxed atmosphere. Visitors appreciate Tranquilo’s selection, prices, vibes, and musical playlist. If you’re looking for someplace low key to chill out and enjoy your time, this place should definitely be on your to-do list during your time in Marbella.
You will find La Isla Verde in San Pedro De Alcántara, which is just south of Marbella. This club gets great reviews from visitors and is known for making it easy for visitors to get a membership quickly and offering them a welcoming atmosphere when they arrive. Sticky Fingers is in the heart of Marbella, and it offers visitors an outdoor courtyard to smoke and relax in when the weather is nice.
To understand the legal complexities of cannabis use in Spain, you need to look at it from the perspective of clubs as well as that of individuals. You also need to understand how Spanish law treats people who attempt to enter or exit the country while possessing marijuana and the risks involved in purchasing cannabis products on the black market rather than going through a CSC.
When cannabis social clubs were first introduced into Spanish society, it took a while for the nation, local law enforcement, club owners, and club members to figure out how things were going to work. There were many CSCs that saw the legal grey area as an opportunity to create a community for members to collectively pursue safe and social marijuana use for medical or recreational purposes.
Other clubs sought to exploit the uncertainty to pursue profits as aggressively as they could. Those clubs seemed to be working under the assumption that anything was legal until and unless the authorities shut them down. Between 2005 and 2015, there was a wide scope of business models behind different clubs, and that meant a wide variety of experiences for visitors.
Court cases have helped to clarify what the rules are and how they will be enforced. They have also helped to reign in, punish, or eliminate the CSCs that were only in it for the profit. That means that the CSCs that remain today are mostly businesses that follow the letter and the spirit of the law. They all tend to take pretty good care of members regardless of whether those members are visitors or neighbors.
Clubs can get in trouble for holding too much stock at one time. They can also get in trouble for having a membership that is too large. Finally, they can get in trouble if their board doesn’t participate in the operation or if they are too lax in their screening of new members. Those are all areas that the federal government of Spain has identified as red flags for a business that is using the guise of a CSC to cover retail activities or, worse, smuggling and trafficking.
Spanish law enforcement tends to take a very laid-back approach to enforcing the laws governing marijuana use and possession. This applies to private citizens and tourists alike. It is technically illegal to be in possession of marijuana that you checked out of your CSC for home use while you are walking down the street with it. It is legal inside the club and legal once you are inside your home or hotel room. It is illegal to possess it in public as you move in between the two.
It is highly unlikely that you will be stopped or searched by police if you are simply walking down the street. If you are visiting Marbella as a tourist, you just need to remember that it is a bad idea to light one up while you are walking down the sidewalk. It’s probably a risk that isn’t worth taking to smoke on a public beach or outside of a nightclub, but we’ll leave that up to each individual to decide.
One area where some tourists run into trouble during visits to Spain is in trying to find a club that they can join as a visitor to the area. The public squares are bustling black markets for marijuana and hash. They’re also risky places to do business for legal reasons and for the fact that the business can be shady outside of the CSCs. One way that scammers have taken advantage of the CSC situation is to have runners guide tourists to less than reputable CSCs. It is a good idea to do some research beforehand.
One thing to remember when you are in public and in possession while in Spain is that possession has been decriminalized. That means that you’ll only have to pay a fine if you are stopped by the police. But, as we said, it is highly unlikely that you will be unless you are doing something silly. If you are doing something silly, don’t do anything to make it worse. Take your fine and be on your way.
Even though private possession and personal use are legal in Spain, you should never try to bring marijuana into the country with you or take any home with you when you leave. Beyond the fact that doing so would mean possessing marijuana in public and put you on the wrong side of the law—there is far too great a risk that possession of even a small amount could expose you to charges of smuggling.
Getting caught in possession of marijuana is a charge that is only publishable by a fine. Charges of smuggling are far more serious. One of the best ways to ruin a great vacation is to take unnecessary and stupid risks with marijuana.
Like almost every detail of Spanish laws dealing with marijuana, there is a lot of grey area and a lot of confusion. In order to err on the side of caution while you are coming and going, it would be best to leave anything marijuana-related behind when you travel. Even CBD products have led to problems according to stories that we’ve seen people tell in chat rooms.
Websites That Can Help You Join a Club
If you want to stay right in Marbella, you can visit the WeedBCN website to request an invitation to join the Sticky Fingers CSC and apply for membership. If you’re fluent in Spanish, then Cannabis-Spain.com is a great resource for information on membership and more.
Weedmaps.com is another helpful website that offers reviews on CSCs all around Spain. Visit the reviews to see responses from staff members that give viewers instructions on requesting an invitation. You can sort the search results by location to narrow your options down to those clubs that are closest to Marbella.
It is always best to remember the rules that the CSCs are governed by. That will help you appreciate the situation that they are in. They are technically stretching the rules to offer you a membership when they know that you are a tourist, but most CSCs are happy to do so. As a tourist who is requesting membership, show appreciation of what they are doing for you and try to avoid saying or doing anything that would put them in an awkward position.
There are many websites that offer to help visitors to Spain obtain membership in one or more CSCs. It is hard to keep track of them all, much less to vet them all in order to determine whether they are legit or shady. Use your best judgment if you have to. Ask a local contact for advice if you’re able to. If you are spending more than a few days in Marbella, you have plenty of time to get a membership in a way that is safe and comfortable.
Wrapping It All Up
Visiting Spain is a different kind of canna-tourism than visiting Amsterdam in Europe or visiting Denver, Seattle, or Los Angeles in the United States. Because the laws are different, the process is different, and the culture is different. You can easily get whatever you need to have a good time once you arrive in Marbella. The key to making sure everything goes smoothly is understanding how the process there is different from what you’re used to.
There is plenty of high-quality weed to be had, and it’s the perfect complement to the amazing weather, gorgeous beaches, and friendly people that you’ll encounter during your visit. Take advantage of the safety and security that CSCs provide to marijuana users in Spain. Take the time to go through the steps to obtain a legit membership. It will lead to a much more pleasant experience than taking your chances in the public square.
Not only do you risk getting scammed when you do business in public, but you also expose yourself to unnecessary legal risks and accept a method of getting your marijuana that gives you zero control over the variety or quality. Why would you go that route when it’s so easy to do so much better?
We hope that this article has helped you learn everything that you need to know to visit Marbella and have a great time. Whether the fantastic marijuana is the main reason for your visit or just an awesome bonus, follow the information that we’ve provided here to make sure that you have a blast and leave with nothing but excellent memories and a strong yearning to return.