“Barcelona, archives of courtesy, shelter of the foreigners, hospital of the poor, father-land of the brave, the vengeance of the offended and pleasant correspondence of firm friendship, and in the site, and in beauty, unique.” – Miguel de Cervantes
In the next part of our series on cannabis culture, we’ll be looking at Barcelona. Remember that cannabis culture is the way that cannabis can be perceived and treated within a society, city or country. This includes the separate regulations regarding individua cannabinoids that we find in the plant like CBD vs THC. In our next stop we look at the capital city of Catalonia, an autonomous region of Spain; the home of fantastic football, awesome architecture and a growing weed culture, Barcelona: With the rise of Barcelona Cannabis clubs, what secrets can we find in this jewel of the mediterranean?
Whether you’re talking about the US, Europe, or anywhere else in the world, cannabis culture can vary significantly. To learn about laws across the globe, make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter, your hub for all things cannabis-related.
Barcelona is found on the northeastern coast of Spain, but it is also the capital city of the autonomous region of Catalonia, a region in a constant battle for independence from the rest of the nation. Because of this Barcelona has quite a unique and different feel to other Spanish cities. It is home to 4.8 million people, making it one of the largest cities in europe. It is also one of the most visited by tourest, being the fifth biggest tourist city in Europe. It is home to a happening hipster scene and has inspired multiple songs and movies and artworks before. Famously, Freddy mercury sang of its beauty in his hit solo song, ‘Barcelona’.
“Barcelona, Such a beautiful horizon, Barcelona, Like a jewel in the sun! Viva Brcelona!“
Here are some of the top places to visit in Barcelona, the beautiful horizon, some famous sites and scenes to see:
Basílica de la Sagrada Família
Located in the northern part of the city this iconic neo-gothic church dominates the skyline, as well as the souvenir stands. Designed by Antoni Gaudi, who started the project in 1883, the huge church was only supposed to take 10-15 years to build, but ended up being a lot longer, still being under construction today. This is a must see for anyone in Barcelona and is guaranteed to take your breath away.
The Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic)
Don’t get lost in this medieval maze of ancient streets, one of the oldest parts of Barcelona, the gothic quarter has been a religious centre for hundreds of years. There is evidence of Roman and medieval architecture and in the centre of it all stands the Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia, a spectacular cathedral. You can also find the Picasso museum and be serenaded by some classical Spanish guitar whilst you walk. There are also some fantastic bars and pubs down these streets.
The main central street in Barcelona, full of tourists, but still a mainstay for any new visitor. A beautiful high street with old school bars and restaurants to suit everyone, all shaded by the boulevard of beautiful trees.
Cannabis in Barcelona
So what is the cannabis culture like in Barcelona, what do the people of this beautiful city thing about the plant? Is it an important part of its culture? Well the truth is, it is. Barcelona is rapidly growing into one of the most important cities in Europe when it comes to weed. With over 200 specialised cannabis clubs, it’s clear to see that the city is taking Cannabis culture seriously. These cannabis clubs are an exciting development for European cannabis culture in general as they are bars where you can work, drink, play some pool but also legally smoke cannabis. The technicalities on the law in Barcelona are a little more complex, but we will discuss that below. With so many Cannabis clubs to choose from it is important to understand how they operate and which are often recommended as the best. An important thing to note is that to go to a Cannabis club you must be a member. So, let’s unpick the law in Barcelona around Cannabis.
Is It Legal?
For a simple answer to this question I refer to the Barcelona weed guide: “Smoking and possession of marijuana is completely legal within the confines of your own home or within a cannabis club. As long as you aren’t smoking or in possession of cannabis in a public place, you are not breaking the law. Even as a foreign national you are within the law.” This sounds like great news and a relatively simple rule to follow, however there are some traps that are possible to fall into whilst in the city. For clarity let’s have a look in a little more detail at what counts as illegal weed usage in the city.
As stated before, smoking weed at home and in a cannabis club is perfectly legal, but this means smoking it anywhere else is not. If you are caught smoking cannabis on the streets you could be prosecuted and fined at least €600! Also, unlike Amsterdam, where it is also illegal to smoke on the streets, the police are much less forgiving. On top of this, it is also important to remember that you shouldn’t buy cannabis from any street vendors as again, you are not at home or in a Cannabis club, it’s not worth the risk as you can get some by being a member of a club. It’s also important to remember that being in possession of Cannabis whilst not at home is illegal, so even if it’s in your pocket, if you get searched you can be fined. But now we know what’s illegal, what can we do in Barcelona?
The Cannabis Club scene is one of the fastest growing weed cultures in Europe and is an interesting experiment that hopefully other cities will begin to follow. The clubs are interesting as they aren’t public like the cafés in Amsterdam. Instead, they are private members only clubs that you need to apply for which means they have a much more private feel. Inside, you can perfectly legally smoke and buy weed. Although, I wouldn’t use the term buying weed as the way the clubs work is a bit more like you own a share of weed when you pay your membership fee and you acquire it when you go to the club. You have to pay a yearly membership fee, but once that’s sorted, you’re all set to go. How do they work legally though? Well, as stated above it isn’t illegal to smoke cannabis on private properties and a Cannabis club counts as a private property, once you’re a member so it all works perfectly!
How to Join a Cannabis Club
The first thing you have to do is find the right club, below we’ve listed some of the most recommended Cannabis Clubs online. It’s important to understand that every club is different, sometimes with a different fee and with a different vibe, so make sure you find one that is right for you. The next step is that you have to request an invitation online. You can ask friends in Barcelona who are already members to get you in, but If you don’t have anyone in the city already you have to find the clubs online, or on instagram and message, requesting an invitation. Again, our friends at Barcelona Weed Guide have some tips for this: “Apply for an invitation from a specific member of staff and when you arrive at the cannabis club you need to ask for this person. They are inviting you to the club and they can get you membership.” Sometimes the club is closed to new members, but if they’re not, the most common reply from them is this: “Please, show this message at the reception desk and bring your ID to identify yourself as a legal adult (age). We can’t answer further questions until we meet face to face at the club.” And that’s exactly what you need to do, don’t forget your ID as this is the key to being accepted!
Here are some of the top recommendations according to a few sites online: Barcelona Coffee Shop, Dragon Weed Club, Zkittlez Weed Club and G13 Weed Club. There’s a much more extensive list, with links at this site
Are they closing down?
These Cannabis clubs are pioneers and have been shown to be reducing the amount of street selling and criminal convictions for cannabis possession. However, there have been motions towards closing these clubs down. Arguments have been made that the clubs are promoting themselves and aiming themselves at young people and tourists, so the police and government have decided to crack down on these promotional activities and will start inspecting the clubs. This could be bad news, but at the same time the Catalonian government has been to-ing and fro-ing on the topic for a while.
Barcelona is a beautiful, bustling city full of beautiful buildings and some spectacular sights, but it is clearly also one of the pioneering cities of Cannabis culture in Europe. One can only hope that these clubs remain what they are and that the protection of the rights of Barcelona citizens and tourists to smoke cannabis is maintained through these brilliant clubs. If you visit Barcelona and want to join a club, remember you have to apply online first and can’t just turn up at the door.
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