Tourists and marijuana in Barcelona seem to mix pretty well, whether city administrators like it or not. However, there is a lot of confusion about whether tourists can get marijuana in Barcelona, and – more to the point – if they can legally join one of the city’s many private cannabis social clubs. But because the capital of Catalunya is sensitive to foreigners, it’s important to educate yourself before you, too, decide to jump into the mix of tourists and marijuana in Barcelona.
To understand the situation with tourists and marijuana in Barcelona, I’ll answer the most common questions below that will give you a strong picture of what to expect if you’re a foreigner looking to acquire marijuana in Barcelona:
1. Is Marijuana Legal in Barcelona?
2. Are Cannabis Clubs Legal in Barcelona?
3. Can Tourists and Foreigners Get Marijuana in Barcelona Legally?
4. What is the Penalty for getting Caught with Marijuana in Barcelona?
1 – IS MARIJUANA LEGAL IN BARCELONA?
Personal possession and consumption of marijuana in Barcelona is not a crime, and never has been anywhere in Spain. As long as it’s in private, you can possess, consume, and even grow marijuana in Barcelona. However, you cannot engage in these activities in public without risking harassment by the police, and a possible fine, more on that in item #4 below.
For more information and complete details about the legality of marijuana in Barcelona, please read the following article:
2 – ARE CANNABIS CLUBS LEGAL IN BARCELONA?
As long as they are private and not open to the public, cannabis clubs in Barcelona are legal. That’s because the Spanish Constitution grants two rights that allow the clubs to exist; The Right to Privacy, and The Right to Association. The right to privacy means that in private settings, people can mostly do what they want, including grow and consume a personal amount of marijuana (or any other substance). The right to association grants people the ability to join together in a professional organization for a mutual purpose, including exercising the right to privacy by sharing cannabis cultivation and production resources together. These Constitutional protections are the basis for the clubs, but there are no rules or regulations at the Federal level to control or oversee the clubs, creating a legal grey area regarding enforcement.
For more information about the legality of cannabis clubs in Barcelona, please read my article, Cannabis Clubs in Barcelona: Not a Legal Loophole
To learn full details about Barcelona’s cannabis clubs, check out my popular article, 10 Things You Need to Know About Barcelona Cannabis Clubs
3 – CAN FOREIGNERS AND TOURISTS GET MARIJUANA IN BARCELONA?
Yes, tourists and foreigners can get marijuana in Barcelona, particularly if they join a private cannabis club. Because there have never been any laws created to regulate the cannabis clubs, there are no laws banning a foreigner or tourist from joining a cannabis club in Barcelona. In fact, for citizens of the European Union, there are likely other legal protections, considering that Spain cannot create laws that are discriminatory against other members of the E.U.
Just keep in mind that there is a massive problem with tourists and the speculation of residential housing in Barcelona, so please, behave! Here’s a huge article I wrote that talks about Barcelona’s problems with tourists and foreigners, and what you can do to make sure you’re a blessing and not a curse to local Catalan and Spanish people:
Of course, tourists and foreigners are also free to acquire marijuana in Barcelona the old-fashioned way; on the black market. But understand that if you do this, you’ll be subject to fines and penalties if caught, or robbery and perhaps a beating if you deal with the wrong character. Cuidado!
4 – WHAT IS THE PENALTY FOR GETTING CAUGHT WITH MARIJUANA IN BARCELONA?
There are 2 primary ways that tourists and foreigners get caught smoking marijuana in Barcelona:
1. Public Consumption
Most people who get caught with marijuana in Barcelona are busted by uniformed or undercover police. This generally happens in the big parks, especially Ciutadella, but also happens on the street – most notably, Las Ramblas. You might look around and see a lot of weed-smoking going on in Barcelona, but don’t let this fool you; if a cop sees you, they’re going to bust you.
If you’re caught with marijuana in Barcelona, the police will harass you at least a little bit, search you and your possessions, try to determine if you’re in the country legally, and, if they don’t find anything else incriminating, they’ll issue you a fine. The amount of the fine depends on the attitude of the cop, and the amount of weed found, but generally fines are from 400 to 800 Euro. Fines will be sent to your address of record in about 4 to 6 weeks, and you must pay them within a certain amount of time, or the fine increases.
2. Exiting a Cannabis Club
Sometimes, police randomly spot someone exiting a private cannabis social club. They’ll quickly target that person, because it’s an easy bust for them. This also happens (rarely) by design, where police agents will stake out the door of a cannabis club, wait for members to exit and turn the corner, then their counterparts will stop them. What happens next is the same situation as described in point #1 above; harassment, search, fine.
The best way to avoid getting caught with marijuana in Barcelona as a tourist or foreigner is to avoid displaying or consuming it in public, and always transport what you’re carrying in your underwear or otherwise in your intimate areas, as police cannot search there without getting a warrant. If you use the system of cannabis clubs, and consume discreetly or only in private, you’ll never have a problem with being a 420-friendly tourist or foreigner in the heart of Catalunya.