“It is absurd that you can buy tequila or gin from a supermarket, but marijuana is illegal,” said Pablo Iglesias, who is leading a political movement in Spain to legalize cannabis.
Following Canada’s cannabis legalization Podemos organised a forum on the drug with a view to following nine USA states and Canada into legalising the cultivation, sale and consumption of cannabis. Spain has a population of 46.57 million people, about 10 million more than Canada. Spain also has a cannabis culture within the country, through certain loopholes the culture has been able to thrive while it’s been illegal.
If the law in Spain comes into effect people would require a licence to grow, harvest and sell cannabis. At the moment the sale and cultivation of the drug is illegal, as is the public consumption of the drug, although smoking it in private spaces is not deemed against the law.
In many of Spain’s main cities, you can buy and smoke weed thanks to a legal loophole that allows cannabis growing for private consumption. You’ll find legal ‘weed dens’ in the likes of Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia – each with a stringent membership system and private suppliers.
Barcelona’s Choko Club is a local favourite, with an art gallery, chic interior design, and a very knowledgeable bunch of ‘budtenders’.
“The legalisation must be implemented mainly for medical use and research,” said Podemos. In a paradox, Spanish law permits the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes, but it is not classed as a medicine so can’t be prescribed for medical purposes –only cannabis derived products may be used on a doctor’s prescription.
Podemos said that legalising the drug would replace the black market, reduce crime and control the age of people buying it. At the moment 90 per cent of young people say they have easy access to cannabis.
The political party added that tax revenues from the drug could be used to transform Spain’s public health care service.
However, the proposals have a long way to go before they are made into law as there is no political consensus on the matter.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has avoided the debate on legalising the drug, saying when asked about the issue on a trip to Canada that he had enough problems as it is.