“New Amsterdam” No More? Spain’s Cannabis Clubs Fight to Stay Open

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Spain’s cannabis social club (CSC) model might make the country appear to be a marijuana mecca, but what the tourist never sees are the legal and financial quagmires that plague these clubs, from police raids and robberies to organized crime and headline-grabbing court cases — not to mention Spain’s murky and somewhat draconian drug policies, which penalize cannabis users for possession and public use. Today, the CSCs are under attack, and if the current government gets its way, they’d be wiped out completely. However, the lack of formal regulation means the biggest threat comes from the cannabis clubs that exploit the (admittedly dizzying) system for profit and tarnish the reputation of every other reefer refuge throughout the country. Spain’s first cannabis social clubs emerged in the early 1990s as a political movement that sought to fight for the constitutional rights of cannabis users. One of the primary goals was to provide safe access to quality marijuana, and to protect consumers from the dealing with the black market. Today’s CSCs exist on a spectrum, and while two distinct clubs may be located in the same city, chances are their policies and ethics couldn’t be more different. “New Amsterdam” No More? Spain’s Cannabis Clubs Fight to Stay Open

thumbnail courtesy of merryjane.com

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