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How To Open a Cannabis Social Club in Europe

A chalkboard on a sidewalk shows customers the available strain inside the cannabis club, Carta, in Spain.
Prices (in Euro's) for a bag of legal marijuana from a Spanish cannabis social club


How To Open a Cannabis Social Club in Europe

Spain’s cannabis social clubs (CSCs), also called ‘”associations” have been such a source of inspiration to “King of Cannabis” Arjan Roskam that he moved to Barcelona to catch up with the growing trend.

The reputation of the CSC model soon enough also made the Uruguayan government the first nation to legalize the marijuana trade in order to tackle drug cartels.

Meanwhile, within the boundaries of Spain, the controversy over legislation of cannabis remains an uphill battle, but the tension doesn’t prevent new CSCs from opening. So, could you open a CSC in your country?

Here are the basics:

1. Check the legal framework for cannabis consumption in your country. 

If consumption is not considered a crime and possession of a minor amount of cannabis does not lead to a criminal prosecution in your country, it sounds like you can start your own CSC. But not so fast! First thing is to create a solid legal defense of your association which should be based on the argument that as long as people have the right to consume, they are also allowed to grow cannabis for their own consumption.

2.Stay Away from the Illegal Market.

In fact it is inimical to the sole purpose of the model.  Remember that CSCs are lawful and law demanding mechanisms, a safe and transparent alternative to the black market.  Therefore, an accurate list of rules in the administration and organization of the club is vital and will also be necessary as evidence in court. Know a lawyer, or get in touch with ENCOD for their model statutes.

3. Go Public!

Better with a well-known public figure, artist or a politician! No, you are not telling on yourself blatantly unless you are a drug dealer and you are not.  This is a declaration to explain that you are opening a CSC to avoid the health risks of cannabis associated with black market sales and that growing for personal consumption of adult members is legal, safe and transparent alternative to the illegal market. Period.

4. Create the CSC

You need at least three people; a president, secretary and treasurer. Just like in any work team, the responsibilities of each person should be clear, simple and transparent.  Installing a democratic decision-making process is crucial for the work ethic. Next you must register to the public, file and have it approved legally by the local justice department.

5. Cultivate Organically

Work with experts such as farmers and scientists. Create various small-scale plantations. It’s up to each user to decide what is the most convenient for them. In doing so, make sure the members are aware (include in the contract) this is a collective plantation maintained by the contributions of the users and the club is growing cannabis on behalf of them.

6. Facilitate the Coordination

Although in some cases opening a club results in police raids, you have to inform your closest police office or the municipality of your intent to open one. The CSC must strictly run not-for-profit; meaning after overhead, profits must be used for the betterment of the CSC. For the sake of transparency, always document all financial transactions. You will need this if you need to challenge your right to run the CSC in court.

7. Call For New Regulations

Your statutes are all set. Everything is by the book. Your CSC is working properly, now you can demand new policies to install a legal regulatory framework for the clubs, concerning licenses, taxes, external control from legal authorities, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Do you think you would like to apply this model to your own country?

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