Your latest cannabis business info from Europe

Your latest cannabis business info from Europe

2024-01-05

Barcelona City Council aims to shut down cannabis social clubs

Barcelona City Council aims to shut down cannabis social clubs

Under the direction of Jaume Collboni, the City Council of Barcelona is making a more determined attempt to shut down cannabis social clubs, indicating a change in the council’s position on these businesses. After allowing these clubs to continue operating for the last ten years, the Council is now actively looking into using the legal system to close them down, claiming that they represent a bad model for the city.

Increased inspections in Barcelona

As part of its new approach, the City Council, in collaboration with the Guàrdia Urbana, has launched a fresh campaign of inspections, targeting at least twenty cannabis clubs in the city. Previous inspections primarily focused on technical aspects. However, the current efforts aim to check if cannabis consumption is facilitated within these spaces. This signals a departure from the Council’s previous approval and indicates a growing intolerance towards the existence of cannabis clubs.

The change in the Council’s attitude was made evident during the last session of the year on December 22nd. Albert Batlle, the third deputy mayor and security councillor, declared the administration’s intention to “put an end” to cannabis associations, labelling the model as unwanted in the city. Responding to a request from Vox to close all cannabis clubs and shops, Batlle emphasised the need to execute the closures with legal precision and without hasty decisions.

Legal challenges

The legal landscape for cannabis clubs in Barcelona became more precarious in 2021. That was the time when the Supreme Court upheld a ruling by the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) that overturned the regulatory framework established by the City Council in 2016. The invalidated regulations had set criteria for the operation of approximately 250 such establishments. Criteria included proximity to schools and other facilities, as well as ventilation requirements.

The City Council responded to the Supreme Court’s order by reminding these groups that their post-ruling rights were restricted to dispensing information, carrying out research, voicing opinions, and setting up meetings pertaining to cannabis. Nonetheless, a lot of clubs carried on with their business without particular licenses while taking care to abide by the law.

Actors are upset about the last round of inspections. They have long supported the cannabis club business concept. It was promoted by activists as a way to cut down on street use and lower the hazards connected to cannabis usage. They bemoan the Council’s decision to combine groups that are responsible with those that operate as fronts for illegal activity, blaming the latter on a lack of appropriate control.

Worldwide motivation and resistance

Some nations are in the process of regulating cannabis, while Barcelona is cracking down on cannabis clubs. In April 2024, Germany will launch a similar foundation. Starting in March 2023, Switzerland is running a cannabis club pilot program. Furthermore, similar approaches are being considered by nations such as Colombia, Mexico, and the Czech Republic.

There has been a major shift in policy with Barcelona’s current battle against cannabis clubs. The legalization of cannabis is a dynamic worldwide environment. Barcelona’s strategy, then, runs against to the curiosity that the world has shown in its exclusive cannabis club concept. The results of this crackdown could influence the global conversation on safe cannabis consumption in addition to influencing the city’s attitude toward the drug.

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