Adios, Amsterdam! The Best City for European Cannabis Isn’t Where You Think

A quick look at the social cannabis club culture in Barcelona that makes this city the best place for European cannabis.
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by Nicholas Demski, Staff Writer for Terpenes and Testing Magazine

Some people say baseball is boring. They say nothing exciting happens and a game can drag on for hours. This is a common misconception because some people place more value on home runs than they do on pitching. The details and intricacies that go into each pitch make each pitch of the game more exciting than the last. The placement, movement, and control that pitchers have over a baseball are remarkable. But the cynics are right, baseball is more exciting when someone is able to counteract a pitcher’s skill and crush a ball over a wall 400 feet away.

It was exciting was when Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974 and went on to hit 755 homers. It wasn’t until 2007 that Barry Bonds was able to beat that record. Hank was the King of Home Runs for over 30 years. But, kings topple as times change.

That’s why some may be interested to hear that Amsterdam is no longer the go-to city for cannabis in Europe. Sure, The Netherlands has a very relaxed attitude towards cannabis and you can still have a good time there, but Barcelona’s scene is a step-up.

Social Clubs, not Open Coffee Shops

In Amsterdam, the lackadaisical attitude toward their coffee shops can result in businesses that care neither about the products they’re selling, nor the person they’re selling it to. It can feel more like being shuffled through a system than engaging with medicinal plants in a meaningful way. At least, that’s the biggest complaint about their system. That, and their insistence on storing cannabis in a plastic bin.

In Barcelona, the attitude is much different. Instead of open-call coffee shops that are open to anyone who wants to walk in, Barcelona’s social cannabis clubs require someone to vouch for your entrance into the club. You can’t walk into any club and expect to get in; that would mean the clubs are not private establishments, which they are.

Yes, some clubs are easier to get into than others, but the best clubs feel quite exclusive when you’re in them. There’s no experience in Amsterdam that can match the feeling of being in a private club/art gallery where you can comfortably sit down and use the fast Wifi. Some clubs even have their own genetics teams and breed some of the best cannabis on the planet.

Other clubs are more recreationally focused. They feature big screen TVs and videogame consoles. They put on the soccer matches and have a “living room” feel to them.

Either way, the clubs in Barcelona are a different experience than Amsterdam. One that personalizes it and feels less touristy than the coffee shops in the Dam.

In fact, you don’t talk about buying cannabis in Barcelona. When you want to know the cost of a gram of your favorite cultivar, you ask more subtle questions:

● What is my share for growing it?

● What kind of contribution do I make for two grams?

The idea behind the clubs is that you’re partaking in a co-op of sorts. You pay your share for the cultivation, processing, and distribution. In this way, you’re part of a community when you join a club, not just a tourist passing through a coffee shop.

Typically, just to join the club you’ll pay an entrance fee on an average of about $25.

Then, a gram of cannabis can be retrieved for as low as about $7 and up to far more, depending on the cultivar and the club. Most average around $12 per gram.

Each day, you’re allowed to collect up to five grams of either flower or concentrate, like hash or shatter.

If caught on the street by police, you could face fines for its possession up to about $350. However, you’re free to consume it in your own home. If you get unlucky and find a seed in one of your bags, you can legally turn that seed into a plant in your residence.

As the clubs in Barcelona continue to progress, and the politicians relax around its use, expect to see Barcelona come out as a permanent leader in the European cannabis industry**.**

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