The situation in Spain is a special case. After the Spanish peninsula was characterised as “the Netherlands of the South”, the number of social cannabis clubs sky-rocketed. In some cases, however, it is difficult to identify the altruists amidst all the uproar. As ever, a handful of opponents who are trying to increase their numbers in order to uphold the bad reputation of the opposition are having to confront the countless fighters for the cause. The clubs are now working hard to seize a place in a society that is gradually beginning to accept the legalisation of cannabis.
What’s more, the clubs are also being confronted with the government’s volatile changes of opinion. That is, of course, hardly surprising and the clubs are trying to make solid progress on this rocky road full of confusing laws and obstacles.
A good example of this situation is the new Internal Security Law, which will be passed soon. This regulation, which was initiated by the Spanish Minister of the Interior, Jorge Fernandez Díaz, is far removed from the wishes of the population and is curtailing basic constitutional civil rights in an almost bizarre fashion. For example, participation in a demonstration against a person or a situation will be punished with fines of up to €30,000. If you give a police officer an answer to a question he didn’t ask, it can be considered defamation of a civil servant on duty, which is also, of course, subject to a fine.
Cannabis consumption has not decreased, although the clubs are now visible. In its own words, the government has become somewhat distrustful, because the clubs have multiplied rapidly over the past few years. Previously, there were 40 clubs in Catalonia – this number has now increased to over 200, and this number only includes the ones registered in Barcelona to date.
The state has, admittedly, only approved those clubs that are focussing on consumption for medicinal purposes. The most important, and at the same time, only purpose of each cannabis club must be to provide marijuana to those customers who need it for medicinal reasons and can prove it. And therein lies the problem. Politicians adapting their approach surely did not result in a reduction in the number of recreational users. Instead of protecting these consumers, however, and ensuring that they do not need to resort to illegal acquisition methods and the black market, they have wilfully decided to demonise this group of individuals.
This is what has initiated the witch hunt. In the future, meticulous inspections will be carried out in all clubs and associations and as soon as the club’s articles of association do not clearly report that the association only focuses on therapeutic users, the premises will be closed and sealed off by the police.
The authorities guarantee that it is absolutely not in their interest to restrict the rights and freedoms of the population. They explain that they only want to “do the right thing” and “to stop the violations that has been committed so far.”
No one is claiming that you can’t enjoy yourself in these clubs. If you take a tour of the clubs in Barcelona nowadays, a football player, a pool table or even a PlayStation are commonplace. They are similar to the coffee shops in the Netherlands, though in most cases they are more attractively furnished and have more entertainment equipment. You don’t walk in and find an endless queue of critically ill patients holding their passes between their teeth with great difficulty and in desperation, having to prove that they are indeed, allowed to consume cannabis. The patrons are a colourful mix: users for medicinal purposes, people who smoke cannabis for pleasure, newcomers etc. The question that you have to ask is: Is that really so bad? Well, it obviously is for the politicians. As usual, this is will turn out to affect the innocent, because even before the aforementioned internal security law, it was evident that the authorities are prepared to eliminate anything that gets in their way.
If we consider this, you can only conclude that many of the procedures for legalising and decriminalising cannabis have fallen by the wayside. In fact, it is a situation that would have been unthinkable years ago, yet, so much more change still needs to change. What is the point of the clubs if they will be closed again before long? What is the point of allowing consumers to grow plants if they will have to pay a fine as soon as they peer over their balconies?
The process will requires time and patience, and it is clear that the end is not in sight in any of the aforementioned cases.
Sensi Seeds will continue to keep you informed of all the latest developments in this area.