You’ve probably heard mixed opinions about weed being legal in Spain. If you’re planning a 420-esque trip to the sun, make sure you clue yourself up before arriving. This article outlines what to look out for so you can stay both stoned and safe during your visit.
Cannabis Laws in Spain
Is weed legal in Spain? Not quite. Put simply, weed is decriminalized for personal use in a private space. That means you can possess (up to 100 grams), consume and grow for yourself (2 plants per household), as long as it is not in a public space or in public view. The laws around different cannabis products in Spain do get a little complex, but with a bit of research it should all become clearer.
Cannabis is still classified as a drug in Spain, so even carrying or consuming small quantities on the street can get you in trouble if you’re not careful. It’s easy for the cops to throw around fines (especially to tourists), but cannabis use is generally accepted by the Spanish locals. It’s best to avoid consuming cannabis publicly at all though as it can be extremely complicated to have legal problems when overseas. If you plan a bit in advance, you may be able to join one of Spain’s private members clubs and consume in a safe space.
Trafficking is highly illegal and can result in huge fines or even jail. This even goes for CBD; it has to be imported from other countries where it’s legal to consume. However, cannabis seeds, paraphenalia or products derived from hemp are allowed to be bought and sold legally.
On top of that, it is strictly prohibited to sell cannabis in public establishments or retail shops. Retail shops caught selling weed can be fined up to 300000€ depending on the severity of the case. Any retail shops dealing weed with high quantities of THC are doing so highly illegally and we advise you not to support it. Respect the laws and local way of doing things in order to protect yourself and the cannabis clubs.
Tip: Do not try to take any cannabis products across Spanish borders, even to countries where it is legal.
Is THC legal in Spain?
No. Contrary to popular belief, weed is still not fully legal in Spain. As previously mentioned, one can only possess, consume or grow for personal use and away from public spaces. The buying and selling of THC is illegal, so try not to be tempted by dealers offering it to you on the street, or in retail shops for that matter. Recreational use and exchange of cannabis is only allowed in private spaces.
How most of the weed arrives in these private spaces is all done behind curtains. There are a large amount of illegal plantations across the country and in huge indoors spaces/properties in the cities. Spain also supply Europe with a decent portion of its seeds and it is in a perfect position to have cannabis legalized, but we are not there yet.
On a side note, you may see HHC (hexa-hydro-cannabinol) cannabis being sold in head shops. For those who don’t know, HHC is essentially hydrogenated THC. The laws in Europe for HHC are still mostly uncertain, but as it is derived from hemp it is still considered legal in most of Europe. The molecular structure of HHC is slightly different that of THC and it provides around 70-80% of the same effects.
Tip: We do not encourage in anyway the use or ingestion of the previously mentioned substance.
Is CBD legal in Spain?
Yes but only for cosmetic use and only when it is derived from hemp. This explains why you will see many CBD products (even smokables) sold as cosmetics. In order for CBD products derived from hemp to be bought or sold legally, they should have less than 0.2% THC. Most of the flower is imported from Italy where its production is legal (with its own set of laws). This is also because to sell it in Spain, it has to be grown in another country. This type of regulation is one of the reasons for CBD coming in packaged form when purchasing from retail shops.
Keeping this in mind, check the laws of your country once in a while as the cannabis industry is constantly changing. You may find you can actually buy CBD online in your country without breaking the law even if you can’t get it over the counter at a headshop.
CBD e-liquids for vaping are allowed Spain, as inhaling vapour is not considered consumption. You will also find topicals like CBD balms, creams and oils available for purchase. There is even CBD oil for dogs. Oil produced for humans is sold as a topical and may be labelled with ‘not for human consumption’. That doesn’t mean you can’t find very high quality CBD oils designed for medicinal use though.
Note: CBD is still illegal to consume publicly.
Unfortunately, medicinal cannabis is still not legal either in Spain. Doctors are not allowed to prescribe it. However, there are some strong arguments in Spanish politics for its place as a prescription drug. The therapeutic benefits of cannabis are becoming more well known with time, and it has proven to be extremely effective for treating and relieving certain illnesses, diseases or disabilities.
Because medical marijuana is not provided by the government, patients will often get their medicine through the cannabis clubs, or what people commonly call ‘coffeeshops’. This makes it difficult for patients to know what they’re getting as very often the cannabis in private clubs isn’t regulated or analysed. Depending on the case, it can be possible for locals who need it medically to get a medical card from their doctor, which allows them to get discounts on whatever they pick from the club’s selection.
Private Smoking Clubs (Coffeeshops)
With cannabis being the most consumed illegal drug in Spain, one would imagine it’s pretty easy to get hold of. In many ways that’s true, but if you don’t know where or how to look, the experience can be both a bit sketchy and disappointing. Many hear about ‘coffeeshop’ culture in Spain, and arrive thinking weed is legal just like in Amsterdam, however it is quite different to the Dutch way of doing things.
In Barcelona for example, it’s hard to avoid hearing ‘Coffeeshop? Smoke weed?’ on nearly every busy corner in the bustling centre. So yes, you can find a smoker’s club by being ‘invited’ by one of these street promoters, but for the most part they won’t provide the high quality experience an avid cannabis consumer may seek. Think of them as tourist traps, and they’re putting the whole system at risk by operating illegally.
Cannabis clubs can be found throughout Spain, with the highest concentration being in Barcelona. These places are great for hanging out and consuming cannabis in a comfortable social space. If you manage to get an invite (you can also contact them first and try to politely ask for one) then you will need to go there and register as a member. This includes a fee which usually gets renewed yearly.
Once registered, you can add credits to your account at the reception before heading into the cultural space. Adding credits means you donate to the association and recieve cannabis products in return for your support. This is why it’s best to never use terms like ‘buying’ or ‘selling’, as that would be, well…illegal. Cannabis clubs are also non-profit organizations, which allows them to operate under the current laws of decriminalisation of cannabis in private spaces.
Common rules for entering private smoking clubs in Spain:
- Must be 21 years of age.
- Valid photo ID required. Passport, driver’s license, etc.
- Invite only by a current member. Don’t just show up.
- Cash only.
- Never use the terms ‘buying’ or ‘selling’.
- Use the term ‘cultural association’ or ‘private smokers club’ instead of ‘coffeeshop’. It’s not Amsterdam.
- Don’t take your own weed or ask for any other drugs.
- Don’t take any weed out of the club. If you get caught, don’t blame the club.
- Respect the in-house rules. Each space might have it’s own set of rules.
- Many places do not accept tourists; there may even be a 15 day waiting period after you register.
If you do not know any locals or have anyone to invite you to a club, there are some online organizations that can help out. Through this method you provide your details and the organization finds you a club. They set up a date and time for you to go there and register, making it all fairly easy for you.
It is forbidden for cannabis clubs to advertise publicly, so one needs to do a bit of digging to find some of the really top quality spaces. It may be tricky if you’re not local, but very worthwhile as some of the spaces can be really impressive, with great social aspects, decor, activities and of course, top shelf cannabis products, edibles and extracts.
6 Tips For Your Trip
We couldn’t leave you without some useful tips to ensure your experience visiting Spain is nothing other than what you expected it to be:
- Understand the laws first. Always do your research.
- Contact cannabis clubs online before you travel. Many have Instagram pages or can be found on Google Maps.
- When buying CBD or HHC products in Spain, always ask for a receipt where possible so if you have any issues you can prove what you’re carrying. It’s still a crime if you get caught, but less severe than if it is THC.
- If it feels sketchy, it probably is. Avoid street dealers and ‘coffeeshop’ promoters.
- Don’t get ripped off. You can find decent weed in Spain for around 10-15euro per gram.
- Come and see us at Barcelona Legalize and talk to our friendly staff about Spanish cannabis culture, CBD and HHC products, bongs, pipes, vaporizers, papers, and anything else you might need for your 420 style trip!
Can I Take Weed Back To My Country?
Every country is different, so you must check the laws in the country you are travelling to. In most places in Europe it is forbidden to move drugs like cannabis across borders. We advise you not to take any products back home. If you decide to travel out of Spain with cannabis, you do so at your own risk. Remember, trafficking is a serious crime.
We know it can be a pain to find smoke when you’re away from home, but we hope this article has cleared things up for you. You’ll now be able to visit Spain and know what to expect, meaning you can avoid any disappointment or wasting time or money while you’re there. In the end the more you know, the more prepared you can be and the less likely you are to have legal issues while trying to enjoy yourself. The last thing you want is to end up in jail in a foreign country. Stay safe and happy smoking.