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.
Les Cannabis Social Clubs (CSC) sont en plein bad trip. Ces coopératives d’autoproducteurs avaient lancé en mars une vaste opération de désobéissance civile, sommant le gouvernement «de prendre ses responsabilités» sur la dépénalisation de la marijuana. Le tribunal de grande instance de Tours a prononcé, hier, la dissolution de la structure fédérant l’ensemble des Cannabis Social Clubs français. Ses membres ont désormais l’interdiction de se réunir.
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.
Interpellé mi-février après que la police a saisi à son domicile 126 plants de cannabis et 26 grammes d’herbe, le proces contre Dominque Broc ressemblait plus à un combat politique qu’à une joute juridique. «Les Cannabis Social Clubs prônent une consommation régulée et raisonnable de la marijuana. Ils produisent eux-mêmes ce qu’ils fument pour ne pas recourir au marché noir. Il est donc à tout le moins hypocrite de ne pas poursuivre les faits de production et d’envoyer le prévenu devant la juridiction compétente ! tonne son avocat, Philippe Baron.
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.
Legalisation of cannabis is making slow but unstoppable progress across much of the developed world, many experts believe, following the end of prohibition in two US states. In Amsterdam, long famous for its coffee shops, international experts gathering to discuss cannabis regulation said the international conventions, once so heavily policed by the US, would now be increasingly flouted. Already many countries, most notably the Netherlands and Spain, have bypassed the rules.
Barcelona has a new tourist attraction that some locals wish would disappear: a burgeoning number of "cannabis clubs," where people can legally buy and smoke pot. Although selling marijuana is against the law in Spain, some regions allow local residents to set up nonprofit clubs whose members grow and share it for personal use. As recently as 2011, only a few dozen such groups were in the Catalonia region, which includes Barcelona. But since then, the number has risen to about 400.
Cannabis is the world’s most widely used illicit drug. But for how much longer? In a short space of time we have moved from absolute global prohibition of the drug, with the emergence of legalised and regulated production and retail not in just one nation (Uruguay) but also, surprisingly, in two US states (Colorado and Washington). Do these and other new permissive models in Spain and Belgium, for example, point to a tipping point in the debate? Could cannabis step out of the shadows and join the ranks of alcohol and tobacco, the world’s most popular legal and regulated drugs?
Depuis la dissolution le 20 juin 2013 de la fédération des Cannabis social clubs par le tribunal de grande instance de Tours (Indre-et-Loire), les groupes vivent dans la clandestinité. Alors qu’on pourrait croire que la répression les aurait conduits à l’explosion, les Cannabis clubs continuent d’exister, comme si de rien n’était ou presque. « La dissolution n’a pas changé grand-chose, elle nous a permis de mieux nous organiser », affirme Dominique Broc. Pourtant cette opération de cannabis clubs a un petit côté pétard mouillé.
Growing numbers of visitors are purchasing a few grams of marijuana while on holiday in Barcelona, a city that is already being described as the "Holland of the South." All one needs to do is become a member of a cannabis club, many of which advertise on the internet, and place an order by phone or online. But for the first time in the Catalan capital, a judge has ordered a club closure on the grounds that it was engaging in drug trafficking.
The Uruguayan government has unveiled long-awaited regulations for its recreational marijuana market — a move that steers the tiny nation of 3.3 million people away from the prohibitionist war on drugs, with its disastrous consequences in Latin America, and toward a drug policy based on improving public health and security. Although Uruguay’s Congress approved the measure in December — becoming the first country in the world to legalize recreational pot use — it was just this week that the government of President José Mujica announced all the details.
The Barcelona city council announced that no new cannabis clubs will be allowed to open in the city for one year in order to halt their proliferation and allow for tighter regulation of the 160 clubs that already exist.
Cannabis clubs in Catalonia will face stricter regulations with the region's parliamentary health commission set to raise the minimum age for membership from 18 to 21 while prohibiting new clubs from opening near schools and nurseries. The new rules are the result of months of discussions between health officials, parliamentary groups and representatives of the clubs after 49 were closed down by police in August. The Catalonia Federation of Cannabis Associations had called for clearer regulations in order to help control bad practices.
The number of cannabis clubs that have opened in Barcelona recently has some experts saying this city will soon challenge Amsterdam as the go-to destination for vacationers who want to get high in peace. In the last three years, new clubs have opened, particularly in tourist areas, in many cases circumventing the spirit, if not the letter, of the law. About 300 new cannabis clubs have opened in Barcelona and the surrounding Catalan region, a result, at least in part, of enterprising Spaniards looking for new ways to earn a living.
In Uruguay, licensed cannabis clubs of up to 45 members will be allowed to grow a maximum of 99 plants each year. In August, growing up to six plants of cannabis at home became legal. Each club member can produce no more than 480g of cannabis each year and the club's growing fields cannot be within 150m of a school, college or a drug rehabilitation centre. Legalising cannabis has been a sensitive issue in Uruguay, where voters will be going to the polls in a second round of presidential elections on 30 November. Both presidential candidates have said they will tinker with the new laws if elected.
The heads of Fedcac, an umbrella group for Catalonia’s cannabis clubs, have been arrested on charges of money laundering. The vast amounts of money made by these allegedly non-profit associations – in the order of €5 million a month – had raised the suspicions of police. Catalonia has around 400 cannabis clubs with 165,000 members – half of them in Barcelona. “We are seeing a contradictory message whereby we are asked to cooperate on the issue of regulation, yet at the same time we are prevented from conducting our activities normally through periodic police raids,” said Fedcac in a release.
In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize the production and sale of marijuana. But this pioneering decision is presenting a number of challenges when it comes to implementation. The new law states that cannabis can be grown at home, acquired with a prescription at a pharmacy for registered users, or bought through cannabis clubs. While marijuana production is on the rise, the government has yet to put any of these legal frameworks in place. Meanwhile, home-growing is on the rise in anticipation of the final measures being introduced.
Cannabis was condemned by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as a psychoactive drug with “particularly dangerous properties” and hardly any therapeutic value. Ever since, an increasing number of countries have shown discomfort with the treaty regime’s strictures through soft defections, stretching its legal flexibility to sometimes questionable limits.