The Barcelona City Council passed legislation Friday that bans the opening of new cannabis clubs for one year. The ban seeks to halt the spread of cannabis clubs in Barcelona until more regulations can be passed. There are currently an estimated 160+ cannabis clubs in Barcelona.
Cannabis clubs in Barcelona, Spain are only legal for club members. However, there have been alledged issues with some clubs serving cannabis to anyone that frequents the establishments, and that the cannabis was purchased illegally, rather than grown by the club. A club was recently shut down for suspected illegal activity. The club was the first one in Barcelona to be shut down for that reason. From The Local:
Barcelona's deputy mayor, Joaquim Forn, said, "We cannot allow there to be those who, in the guise of businesses, threaten the coexistence, health and wellbeing of the people."
He underlined that associations for the supply and consumption of cannabis could not be based in public places, nor use publicity, nor encourage consumption, according to Spanish daily 20 Minutos.
He also added that the local government was worried about Barcelona's burgeoning reputation as a destination for cannabis tourism and noted that they were more concerned with health, especially "the effect of drugs on young people".
This situation highlights the need for a real, legal marijuana market in Spain. As long as there are not clear rules, and the blackmarket exists, people will take advantage. What Spain needs, and other countries need, is a truely regulated marijuana industry. Take the marijuana sales out of the shadows and allow them to occur under clearly identified rules. Instead of allowing organized crime to run the marijuana industry, the government needs to step up and license growers and distributors, tax the sales, and use the money to help its citizens.