A number of other countries have implemented changes in law that significantly reduce the extent of criminalization of marijuana use. Only in Australia and the Netherlands have there been any changes on the criminalization of the supply side and in neither of those countries is it legal to both produce and sell the drug. The relaxations so far, with the exception of the Netherlands, have not been very great i.e. have not much changed the legal risks faced by a user of marijuana. Thus it is perhaps not surprising that the changes in prevalence of use have not been substantial. This paper provides a brief review of the changes that have been tried outside the US. The emphasis is on the nature of the changes and how they have been implemented rather than on outcomes.
Private cannabis clubs are at the vanguard of a new movement of pro-cannabis campaigners in Spain. The members spotted a gap in Spain's drugs laws which, they say, makes the activities of private clubs like these entirely legal. Spain does not have a law banning consumption in private and members claim it is safer to use the club than go out to parks and smoke in public. "The club recognises that cannabis is not good for everyone. We propose a responsible form of consumption. Not everyone should smoke. We know there are risks."
Les Clubs Sociaux du Cannabis (CSC) sont des associations d’usagers qui s’organisent pour s’auto-approvisionner sans avoir recours au marché noir. Profitant de une zone grise juridique, il existe depuis plusieurs années, des clubs privés qui produisent du cannabis pour le distribuer, sans but lucratif et en circuit fermé, à des consommateurs adultes.
Cannabis social clubs (CSC) are noncommercial organisations of users who get together to cultivate and distribute enough cannabis to meet their personal needs without having to turn to the black market. They are based on the fact that the consumption of illegal drugs has never been considered a crime under Spanish legislation. Taking advantage of this grey area, private clubs that produce cannabis for non-profit distribution solely to a closed group of adult members have existed for years.
The Dutch city of Utrecht wants cannabis smokers to grow their own marijuana in a cooperative, a move which would go against the Netherlands' drive to discourage soft drug use. It also would be illegal, the government said.
The municipality of the Dutch city of Utrecht recently announced two scientific experiments on cannabis policy. One experiment will be to set up a closed club model for adult recreational cannabis users. Cannabis smokers will grow their own marijuana in a cooperative, a move which would go against the government's drive to discourage coffee shops. The other experiment concerns treatment for people who are vulnerable to psychotic disorders.
While public opinion seems to be shifting towards support for legalisation; there is surprisingly little discussion in the drugs counter-culture of what a socially just model of cannabis consumption might look like. Nick Buxton examines the experience of cannabis social clubs in Spain.
Martin Barriuso, the president of of Pannagh and the Federation of Cannabis Associations (FAC) in Spain and two fellow activist from Pannagh have been arrested for drug trafficking on Monday, November 14, 2011. TNI wishes to express its support for the demand to immediately release of Barriuso and his fellow activists. Pannagh always has been transparent in their wish to create a regulated cannabis distribution system among adults to prevent a criminal black market.
Martin Barriuso, the president of of Pannagh and the Federation of Cannabis Associations (FAC) in Spain and two fellow activists from the Pannagh cannabis social club have been released. They had been erroneously arrested for drug trafficking in Bilbao on Monday, November 14. Cannabis social clubs are registered, non-profit associations that are formed by adult people who consume cannabis.
The General Assembly of Cannabis Users Association Pannagh denounces the disproportionate intervention of the Municipal Police of Bilbao against the association and demands the immediate withdrawal of the charges against the three members who were arrested last Monday, in recognition of the fact that they have not committed any crime, taking into account that Pannagh carries out its activities according to the jurisprudence regarding the ’shared consumption’ such as has been approved by the Provincial Tribunal of Bizkaia in its decision to withdraw the prosecution that was opened by the municipal police in 2005.
The Basque Parliament will approve a law bill in the first few months of 2012 on drug addiction, which will regulate "the growing, sale and consumption of cannabis". For the new ruling, for which "technical and legal studies have been undertaken", the regional government wants to "open a debate" with associations in favour of consumption and to "shape their rights".
Health officials of the Basque Country, an autonomous region of Spain, announced that they will introduce a bill to regulate the "cultivation, sale and consumption" of hashish and marijuana. The bill, which will be presented to the regional parliament next year, was put forward on December 12, 2011, by regional health officials during the presentation of the regional addictions plan. Several media outlets broke the news as an intent to legalise cannabis use, while in fact the proposed legislation only aims to regulate cannabis user associations that cultivate for personal use.
Germany’s socialist Left party is calling an expert hearing on “legalizing cannabis through the introduction of cannabis clubs” in the German parliament on Wednesday. The idea has met widespread rejection. The Left party’s proposal is to allow Germans to open exclusive cannabis clubs, where members will be able to grow marijuana plants. They also recommend that consumers be allowed to own 30 grams of the drug for personal consumption – double the current limit.
A tiny Spanish village has voted to lease land for growing marijuana as a source of desperately needed revenue — a unique but legally questionable way of battling an economic crisis highlighted by staggering unemployment and a looming recession. A government official with the National Drug Plan said such planting would in fact be against the law and that prosecutors would intervene as soon as the first pot seed was sown.
A tiny Spanish country town believes it has found a way to make unemployment, debt and economic crisis disappear in a puff of smoke – by leasing out its land for marijuana plantations. The town hall of Rasquera in Catalonia on Wednesday voted to sign a €1.3m agreement with a cannabis association in nearby Barcelona to plant marijuana for its 5,000 members. Spain's cannabis clubs argue that if growing and possessing marijuana for personal consumption is legal, then there is nothing illegal about forming a club to that end.
A small town in northeastern Spain, believes it has found a novel way to pay of its debt: cultivating cannabis. Tucked in the hills of one of Spain's most picturesque regions, the Catalonian village of Rasquera has agreed to rent out land to grow marijuana, an enterprise the local authorities say will allow them to pay off their 1.3 million euro debt in two years. The mayor of Rasquera, with 900 inhabitants, said the project will not only benefit locals, but also eliminate organised crime and the tax evasion associated with the cannabis industry thanks to government supervision.
The Spanish village of Rasquera has adopted in a referendum a plan to rent out a field for growing cannabis in an urgent bid to create jobs and raise money to pay off its debts. Rasquera's village council on February 29 approved the plan to rent seven hectares (17 acres) of public land to an association that promotes the legal recreational or therapeutic use of cannabis by its 5,000 members in a 4-3 vote.
Si PS et UMP pensaient avoir enterré le débat sur le cannabis avec la fin de la campagne des législatives, ils se sont trompés. Des militants viennent en effet d’afficher leur détermination à faire évoluer la législation en annonçant, lors d’un Appel du 18 Joint anticipé à Tours, la création de nombreux “Cannabis social club” un peu partout en France, rapportent nos confrères de la Nouvelle République. Illégaux dans l’Hexagone, ces “clubs” n’en resteront donc, pour l’instant, qu’au stade de groupes informels d’amateurs d’herbe ne réunissant chacun pas plus d’une dizaine de membres.
On 19 June, 2012, the Ganjazz Art Club in Donostia, one of the oldest Cannabis Social Clubs in Spain, received a visit that was unimaginable a few years earlier: a group of members of the autonomous regional Basque parliament on official business. Its goal was to find out how one of these cannabis users’ associations, that have proliferated over the past few years, operates.