Legality of Cannabis by U.S. Jurisdiction

Million Marijuana March, 2005, Madrid
Regular use of cannabis in Spain (recreational and medicinal).

Cannabis in Spain is decriminalized for personal cultivation and use, and other purposes other than sale or trade.[1][2] It's illegal for trade or commercial purposes. Using the legal grey areas in Spanish legislation, cannabis clubs are a popular way for enthusiasts to obtain and use cannabis as a technically-legal private collective. In private places, consumption and possession of reasonable amounts (up to 100 grams (3.5 oz)) is legal.[3]

Cannabis clubs[edit]

Several cannabis consumption clubs and user associations have been established throughout Spain. These clubs, the first of which was created in 1991, are non-profit associations that grow cannabis and sell it at cost to its members. The legal status of these clubs is uncertain: in 1997, four members of the first club, the Barcelona Ramón Santos Association of Cannabis Studies, were sentenced to four months in prison and a 3000 euro fine, while at about the same time, the court of Bilbao ruled that another club was not in violation of the law. The Andalusian regional government also commissioned a study by criminal law professors on the "Therapeutic use of cannabis and the creation of establishments of acquisition and consumption. The study concluded that such clubs are legal as long as they distribute only to a restricted list of legal adults, provide only the amount of drugs necessary for immediate consumption, and not earn a profit. The Andalusian government never formally accepted these guidelines and the legal situation of the clubs remains insecure. In 2006 and 2007, members of these clubs were acquitted in trial for possession and sale of cannabis and the police were ordered to return seized crops."[2]

About 500 private "cannabis clubs" exist in Spain, 400 of them in Barcelona alone,[4][5] and Spain is spoken of as the "new Amsterdam," a destination for marijuana tourists.[6] All actions related to cannabis apart from sale or trade are not considered criminal offenses,[7] and normally are misdemeanors punishable by a fine.[8][9]

Medical cannabis[edit]

"Spannabis" convention, 2010

In October 2005, the autonomous government in the region of Catalonia launched a program of therapeutic use of Sativex for 600 patients of a wide set of illnesses, from multiple sclerosis to cancer, in order to avoid nausea or to relax tense muscles. The project involves six hospitals, forty researchers and sixty drugstores. The product is presented as an atomizer to be taken orally, and it will be delivered at drugstores inside some hospitals. The full text of the research initiative can be seen, in Catalan, from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.[10]


Sale and importation of any quantity of cannabis is a criminal offence, punishable by jail time. The purchase, possession and consumption of cannabis in a public place constitutes a misdemeanour punishable by a fine and confiscation of the product. Consumption and cultivation by adults in a private space is legal, the latter due to a legal vacuum and provided that it is shown to be for one's own consumption.[11] Cannabis plants that are located somewhere visible from the street/public place (i.e. from balconies) are considered a serious administrative offense, which leads to a fine from 601 to 30,000€.[12][13][14][15]

Cannabis laws in Spain can vary by autonomous community. For example, in June 2017, Catalonia legalised the cultivation, consumption and distribution of cannabis for members of designated cannabis clubs. The clubs must be self-sufficient non-profit organisations and only distribute cannabis to those aged 18 years old and over. Cannabis clubs in Catalonia are also limited to producing 150kg of dried cannabis a year and must follow rules intended to stop drug tourism.[16] In July 2021, it was revealed that the cannabis clubs in Barcelona were facing being shut down due to the supreme court cutting out a legal loophole that had allowed them to exist.[17] As of April 2022, clubs were still operating in Barcelona when it was releveled that some have been used by drug trafficking networks.[18]

The political party Podemos supports legalising and regulating cannabis in Spain.[19][20][21] In 2021, the political party Más País introduced a motion to legalise the recreational use of cannabis in Spain. It was supported by Unidas Podemos, an electoral alliance of which Podemos is part of. However, the governing Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, often referred to under its abbreviated name, PSOE, voted against the motion.[22]


  1. ^ Hidalgo, Susana (01-03-2009). "El debate sobre el cannabis no espabila." Pú
  2. ^ a b Pérez-Lanzac C. (12 September 2008) El cannabis pelea por un espacio legal. El País.
  3. ^ "Así es la legislación sobre la marihuana en España" (in Spanish). El Español. 20 October 2020. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  4. ^ "Inside Barcelona's private marijuana clubs pushing to legalize it". Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  5. ^ Kassam, Ashifa (4 August 2014). "Barcelona's booming cannabis clubs turn Spain into 'Holland of the South'". Retrieved 17 May 2017 – via The Guardian.
  6. ^ "El 'boom' de clubs de cannabis atrae el turismo del porro a Barcelona". La Vanguardia. January 19, 2014.
  7. ^ Mac. "Marihuana y su legalidad en España". La Marihuana. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  8. ^ "España endurece las leyes sobre el cannabis en plena corriente mundial por la despenalización". El Huffington Post. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  9. ^ Los Clubes Sociales de Cannabis en España: Una alternativa normalizadora en marcha, por Martín Barriuso Alonso, Serie reforma legislativa en materia de drogas no. 9, Enero de 2011
  10. ^ "Introduccio Informe < Cannabis < Web Fundació Institut Català de Farmacologia". 2 March 2005. Archived from the original on 2019-01-21. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
  11. ^ José, Rueda (5 July 2018). "¿Cuantas plantas de maría puedo tener legalmente en España?". I Wanna Grow. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  12. ^ Javier González Granado. " - EL AUTOCULTIVO DE CANNABIS EN LA NUEVA LEY DE SEGURIDAD CIUDADANA". Archived from the original on 30 October 2019. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  13. ^ "Is Cannabis Legal in Spain?". Archived from the original on 2018-12-26. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
  14. ^ "Somos Policías: Tenencia de drogas: ¿Consumo propio o tráfico ilícito?". Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  15. ^ Mac. "¿El auto cultivo de marihuana se despenaliza en España?". La Marihuana. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  16. ^ Baynes, Chris (30 June 2017). "Catalonia legalises marijuana consumption, cultivation and distribution". The Independent. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  17. ^ Burgen, Stephen (27 July 2021). "Barcelona cannabis clubs face closure in new legal setback". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 July 2023.
  18. ^ Morel, Sandrine (8 April 2022). "In Catalonia, the law struggles with private cannabis clubs". Le Monde. Retrieved 4 July 2023.
  19. ^ Balbontin, Pablo (14 July 2018). "Political parties in Spain call for legalisation of weed which 'will bring €1.2 billion' to the economy". The Olive Press. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  20. ^ Smith, Charlie (19 October 2018). "GOING GREEN: Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias sparks controversial cannabis debate in Spain". The Olive Press. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  21. ^ Garcia Valdivia, Ana (11 March 2019). "The Economic Implications Behind The Cannabis Legalization Debate". Forbes. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  22. ^ "What's the law on cannabis in Spain?". The Local (Spain edition). 29 April 2022. Retrieved 8 September 2022.