9 Things You Need to Know about Cannabis Clubs in Madrid

If you’re considering joining a cannabis club in Madrid, Spain, the following is a list of the 9 most important things that you need to know about Madrid’s cannabis clubs and how they work. Cannabis social clubs in Madrid are not at all like the coffeeshops of Amsterdam or the dispensaries of Denver, so it’s important to understand the differences before you attempt to join a private cannabis club in Madrid.

Beautiful street in downtown Madrid Spain

1.) It’s Not Barcelona, but it’s Similar

The basic principles that allow cannabis clubs to exist in Barcelona are the same for cannabis clubs in Madrid because they are based on Spain’s Constitution. To learn more about the specifics of these constitutional protections, READ THIS.

Essentially, cannabis clubs in Spain are private associations of people who have grouped together for the purpose of managing their own cannabis supply. These associations are not open directly to the public and must exist as non-profit associations only.

In Barcelona, there are around 200 clubs, but in Madrid there are only about 40-60. This is because the Spanish cannabis club was born and matured in Barcelona, so Madrid is a little behind the times. Additionally, liberal regulations and lax enforcement in Barcelona, which is located in the semi-autonomous region of Catalonia, have allowed the clubs to grow rapidly in Barcelona, whereas cautious and sometimes overzealous city officials in Madrid have been much more cautious.

However, today attitudes about cannabis consumption are relaxing in Spain’s capital city, and the private cannabis clubs in Madrid are beginning to blossom.

Courtyard in Madrid

2. ) You must be Sponsored by an Existing Member

The primary requirement to become a member at a cannabis club in Madrid is that you must be sponsored by an existing member. This is an important consideration because the entire legal premise of the club system is that the supply and consumption of marijuana is controlled by a closed-circle consisting only of the members, who have personally invited or “sponsored” every other member into the association.

If you could just walk in off the street as a member of the public and join a Madrid cannabis club, then that would be considered public and not private, which is illegal because public provision of cannabis is trafficking under Spanish law.

Madrid - the palace

3.) There are No Residency Requirements

Despite popular misconception, there are no residency requirements under the law for people who want to join a cannabis club in Madrid. In general the primary requirement is that each new member must register using an address in Spain, and most clubs take that one step further and require the address to be residential and not that of a hotel or hostel. Only the strictest of clubs require proof of address; most do not.

Courtyard quarters in Madrid

4.) Madrid’s Cannabis Club Industry is small but growing

The private cannabis club industry in Madrid is small but growing. Assuming that legalization efforts continue to move forward and achieve success, it’s easy to predict that Madrid will one day far surpass Barcelona as the cannabis club capital of the country, considering that the population of Madrid is more than double that of Barcelona.

Under an arch in Madrid Spain

5.) There are more Membership and Payment Options

Cannabis clubs in Madrid offer a variety of membership options, which is not the case in Barcelona where nearly all clubs only offer a 1 year membership. In Madrid, you can choose anywhere from one month to three, six or 12 month membership options. This helps clubs to keep only an active membership base. This is a critical part of staying within the “closed-circle doctrine” that lawmakers and enforcers look at when examining if a cannabis association is operating within the law.

Skinny old streets in Madrid

6.) Proper Cannabis Transport Protocol

If you are a member of a cannabis club in Madrid, you should always transport the cannabis that you acquire from the club in your undergarments when you leave the club. Remember; it is legal to possess and consume small amounts of cannabis in Spain, but only in a private setting. When you step out onto the street, you are no longer in a private setting and you are subject to search and seizure like anyone else.

If you place the cannabis in your undergarments, you should be safe because under the law, Spanish police cannot search there without a warrant.

If you are searched by police and they find cannabis on you, it would not be wise to say that you acquired the marijuana at a cannabis club. It’s better not to identify the club if possible; you can merely tell the police that you got the weed the old fashioned way; on the street.

Downtown Madrid - 2 openings to the right of palace

7.) Police Only Mess with Rebel Clubs

In Madrid, police don’t really bother the cannabis clubs too much unless there are blatant violations of laws. The two biggest crimes that authorities now consider regarding private cannabis clubs are;

  1. Is the club engaged in illegal activity?
  2. Is the club a danger to public health?

Most clubs are very careful to remain within the laws, so it is only those clubs that are engaging in serious violations such as sales to minors, sales outside of the closed circle doctrine, and public recruiting that face police scrutiny and intervention. In most cases, this will never be a problem for you as a member of a private cannabis club in Madrid.

Street with Church tower sticking out in Madrid Spain

8.) A Medical Marijuana System Does Not Exist in Madrid

There is no medical marijuana system in Madrid. In fact, no doctor in Spain can recommend or prescribe cannabis, and there is no structure to fill a prescription even if they could. Fortunately, the private cannabis association system ensures there is no need for a separate medical system.

This means that it doesn’t matter why you use cannabis; whether you are a medical or recreational user, you can safely join a cannabis club in Madrid. So there isn’t a need to carry your certifications with you from other countries considering that there is no distinction between medical and recreational use in Spain. In fact, many who work in the industry here will argue that all cannabis use is therapeutic.

Intimidating facade in Madrid

9.) Don’t light up in Public

The key thing that you need to remember is that the Spanish Constitution only protects people regarding personal use of marijuana when they are in a private setting. This means that you can’t light up in public, as tempting as that may be. If you are caught smoking a joint in the street, you may get a fine, you may be searched and it might not be a pleasant experience.

Respect the laws of the city as much as possible, and don’t smoke when anyone else is around that might not want to be exposed to it. Smoking on your balcony is okay as long as no neighbors complain, and smoking in your apartment, home, or in a private club is constitutionally-protected.

Conclusion

Cannabis clubs in Madrid serve a need that has been a long time in the making. This system eliminates the need for people to rely on the black market and it ensures that consumers can acquire the cannabis – therapeutic or recreational – that they need without exposing themselves to potentially dangerous product and people. If you’re considering joining a cannabis club in Madrid and you need some guidance, please send me an email at russ@marijuanagames.org.

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