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Cannabis social clubs

Cannabis social clubs (CSC) allow their members to grow, purchase and use cannabis on club’s premises for both recreational and medical purposes.

 

These clubs cannot be mistaken for the so-called cannabis coffeeshops – these establishments, which exist in the Netherlands primarily, do not represent associations of closed groups of people. They are basically common coffee houses selling cannabis in addition to coffee. On the contrary, CSCs focus purely on the production and use of cannabis only for their members without generating a profit and serving non-members.

The beginnings

Cannabis clubs first appeared in the United States already in the time of alcohol prohibition in the interwar period. Since alcohol was illegal, cannabis was often used as a replacement narcotic. These cannabis “teapads”, where the visitors would consume the herb and listen to jazz music, sprung up largely in big cities. Once the prohibition of cannabis had been declared, they quickly disappeared.

Situation today

The modern concept of CSC has been introduced by ENCOD, which is a pan-european organization fighting for the legalization of cannabis on national levels as well as international. According to ENCOD, CSC should work as non-commercial organization that provides professional, collective cultivation of a limited amount of cannabis that is supposed to cover personal needs of the club members only. Cultivation, transport and distribution are subject to strict checks for safety and quality.

The club is funded by members in the form of membership contributions. There is a maximum monthly and yearly limit for the cannabis consumed set for each member. Also, the members must not further resell cannabis bought in the club and they have to make sure that it does not reach the hands of the youth.

Nowadays, such clubs are active mainly in Spain where they are generally tolerated. In 2017, they were finally legalized, although so far in Catalonia only. A few of them operate in Belgium and the Netherlands, however they are facing persecutions and are struggling to survive. Activists in Slovenia, Austria and Germany are currently fighting for the establishment of these facilities in their countries.

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