THE ENCOD BULLETIN ON DRUG POLICIES IN EUROPE
This bulletin answers the most frequently asked question flying into our mailbox.
In the last couple of years Amsterdam has been replaced as the cannabis capital of Europe. Barcelona is now the current hot destination for cannabis users, growers, breeders,… you name it. Although legally the situation in Spain is far from being ideal, many seekers of fortune believe they can find it there.
Don’t get me wrong, cannabis is and will always be a flourishing business. To believe anything else would be naive. The cannabis social clubs (CSC’s for short) represent therefore a refreshing alternative to the commercial coffee-shop model adopted in Holland, since (as the name suggests) CSC’s are based on a communal component of the cannabis demand & supply chain.
The main difference between both is that CSC’s are an offspring of the community! Self-organized people (e.g. friends or acquaintances, people living in the same area or community) establish a closed loop, of cannabis cultivation and trade to supply their own personal needs. To ensure transparency and non-profitability an association (non-governmental / non-profit organisation) is registered with the local authorities. By doing that, the club obliges to follow laws related to associations on a national level.
Their internal organisation is democratic and participative. The decision-making body is the annual General Assembly (GA) where a narrative and financial report of the club’s activities, as well as a plan for the following year, is presented and approved. All members are invited to attend the GA and have a equal voting rights. CSC’s maintain a public record of their activities, which should be easily consultable by members, other CSC’s or authorities. This includes financial accountability, an (anonymised) registration of members and their consumption, and an (anonymised) registration of production. Moreover, any financial benefits that may be obtained by the association and that derive from economic activities, are used to promote the goals of the association and not distributed among the members. Similar to coffee-shops in Holland, CSC’s also aim to generate legal employment and produce goods and services in a taxable way. Both models have their advantages and disadvantages, yet both are taking cannabis out of the black market into a controlled and transparent environment.
The demand for cannabis will always be there. In fact, since the re-discovery of its medicinal potential, the demand is even rising and will continue to do so. Yet prohibition makes it difficult to access so cannabis-tolerant cities, like Amsterdam and Barcelona, are a magnet for people from all over the world. That’s the main reason for many CSC’s to turn into a “coffee-shop-like” business. The crowds of tourists are too tempting for many and as a consequence many CSC’s are losing their essence.
In Encod we have observed the issues related to the commercialization of CSC’s for several years. We receive emails seeking advice on “how to open a CSC in Barcelona” on a regular basis. While we find it fortunate that many consider the CSC model as a regulative option, we have to stress the importance of local initiatives to find a way how to integrate the CSC model in your own countries. Only by doing so, we can achieve a change on at the European level.
At this point Cannabis is illegal in Spain, as it is in Holland and every other European country. In order to change that, citizen initiatives in each European country have to demand access in their own countries. The CSC’s model should be considered as a regulative option, a consensus between local authorities and the community to regulate cannabis use in an efficient way.
Some common misconceptions about CSC’s:
- A club cannot be bought.
- A club has no owner.
- A club are its members, only.
For more information please visit:
Freedom to Farm: https://encod.org/info/FREEDOM-TO-FARM.html
Or contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Encod Steering Committee
News from the Secretariat
The Encod Annual General Assembly will take place:
Date: 2.6 – 4.6.2017 (arrival possible from 31st of May, latest departure 5th of June) Location: C/ Font del Castanyer, 130 BIS, 08310 Argentona, Spain.