Getting weed in Barcelona seems like a breeze when you’re on La Rambla. If you’re of age and maybe look like a certain type of Spanish tourist, you might be approached by hawkers trying to getting you to purchase membership into one of the local cannabis social clubs for some private smoking.
So how do you get weed in Barcelona? By far, the best way to get weed is to buy a membership in one of Barcelona’s local cannabis social clubs. These clubs are private nonprofit organizations designed to give locals and foreigners alike a place to enjoy a wide variety of cannabis varieties recreationally in the discreet atmosphere of a relaxing coffee shop.
Even though there are over five hundred cannabis social clubs in the country of Spain, getting weed in Barcelona can still be a little tricky because it’s technically illegal. Read on to find out more about cannabis social clubs and how to use them to avoid legal trouble when buying weed in Barcelona.
Weed Is Not Legal in Barcelona
The major issue with trying to get weed in Barcelona is that weed is technically illegal in Spain. This means that if you get caught by the police buying it, possessing it, smoking it, or selling it on the street, you’ll be taken into police custody and arrested.
Yet walk into one of the many “coffee shops” located around Barcelona that cater to cannabis enthusiasts, and you’d be shocked to learn that it was illegal. Barcelona’s cannabis culture is so widespread it is said to rival the cannabis culture of Amsterdam, which is largely regarded as the cannabis capital of the world.
Since weed is against the law, it’s almost a miracle that these weed-based coffee shops can serve residents and foreigners alike without drawing police intervention. So how do the cannabis enthusiasts of Barcelona get around the illegality of their hobby?
The answer is that most of Spain’s residents take advantage of a local cultural phenomenon known as cannabis social clubs. Inside these clubs, the laws that apply to the Catalan streets largely dissolve, and for the most part, these clubs are ignored by local law enforcement as long as their members are respectful and stay off the streets.
Cannabis Social Clubs Are the Best Source of Weed in Barcelona
While a foreigner in Barcelona could probably find someone to sell them weed on the street if they looked hard enough, they’re much more likely to run into locals trying to sell them a membership in one of the local weed clubs.
The reason is that it’s a lot more dangerous for people to try to sell weed on the street than it is for them to affiliate themselves with one of the cannabis clubs. Dealing on the street makes you a target for the police, who do their best to try and restrict all recreational use of cannabis to private clubs.
This serves the dual process of keeping intoxicated people off the city streets and keeping soft recreational drugs away from people who a) don’t want to be around or exposed to them, and b) away from people who are underage to take them.
It seems like a strange double standard to some, but since Spain relaxed its enforcement of drug laws against cannabis as long as it is conducted in private clubs, Barcelona has developed a unique culture where cannabis enthusiasts can partake as much as they want as long as they keep it on the down low.
How Do Private Cannabis Clubs in Barcelona Work?
Cannabis social clubs are private organizations in Spain and Catalonia that operate as nonprofit collectives that provide a way for both residents and foreigners to access weed discreetly. These private clubs also provide a relaxed, fun atmosphere for people to either smoke or ingest cannabis and cannabis by-products.
Spain allows cannabis social clubs to operate for a few reasons:
- Private cannabis clubs are nonprofit. Since these clubs are not making any kind of profits off their cannabis products, they fall slightly outside of Spain’s recreational drug trafficking laws.
- Private cannabis clubs do not encourage an increased number of cannabis users. Since many cannabis social clubs restrict their membership to residents age 21 and up who already smoke cannabis, they aren’t seen as portals for new cannabis users or underage users.
Whether Spain’s government likes it or not, the private cannabis social clubs of Spain remain a major draw for incoming tourism, especially from cannabis-friendly millennial travelers. Since they aren’t technically legal, though, figuring out how to get into one of these private clubs can be somewhere difficult, especially if you’re not a local. You need to do some research ahead of time.
There have been some police crackdowns on the sloppier cannabis social clubs in recent years due to increased connections with trafficking of other drugs or more members being caught selling or smoking on the street.
That means that those popular clubs left standing have become more discreet as a result. If you just walk up to a random cannabis club without checking in beforehand or having a guide, you probably won’t get in.
How to Get into a Cannabis Club in Barcelona
If you’re a resident of Barcelona, it’s significantly easier for you to get into a cannabis club or find weed. Many cannabis clubs are very much neighborhood-based, especially for residents, so if you’re a regular in the neighborhood, you probably already know which clubs are nice and which aren’t. It also isn’t hard to get a membership endorsement if you’re local.
If you’re just a tourist, it may not be as easy to find a quality cannabis club in Barcelona, and you might be targeted by marketers trying to usher you into cannabis-based tourist traps, but if you do a little bit of research ahead of time, you’ll have a good idea what to expect.
The one thing you’ll notice if you start looking into cannabis clubs in Spain is that many clubs only have a vague address if they have an accurate street address at all. So good luck just trying to walk into these hidden gems off the street. But if you call or email ahead, most of the time, you’ll find very friendly and knowledgeable staff on the other end of the line.
Emailing Ahead of Time is the Key to Catalan Cannabis Clubs
Once you’ve figured out which cannabis clubs you’re most interested in, you’ll need to check the requirements carefully. Some have age limits, others require you to be a resident, and still, others require you to be endorsed by a current member of the club (which involves varying degrees of difficulty). If you meet the requirements, send them an email.
Through an email, staff can give you more detailed information about the club’s hours of operation or location, its policies, and its menu. Often through email, you can also get the ball rolling on a membership or endorsement.
Tips for Visiting a Cannabis Club in Barcelona
If you’re going to be getting weed in Barcelona, make sure that you know what your Spanish address is while you’re in the city.
Along with an address, you’ll also need to bring a photo ID, either a driver’s license or a passport. Once you have been verified by security, you’ll be allowed to buy a membership into the cannabis club. These are usually sold on an annual basis, which means that once you buy one, you’ll have free access to that club for the next twelve months.
An important thing to remember in a cannabis social club is that you’re not supposed to use words like “buy” and “purchase” because the club is a nonprofit, and the club’s protections against law enforcement are very dependent on this status so that they aren’t accused of trafficking drugs. That means if you do use those words in some clubs, you might be asked to leave.
Cannabis can’t be removed from the club either; this rule is usually posted prominently in cannabis social clubs in Spain. Again, this is to help protect the club from the police and help them avoid accusations of drug dealing (and consequent crackdowns). As long as cannabis clubs are discreet, the police leave them alone, and cannabis clubs are serious about honoring that arrangement.
Etiquette in Private Cannabis Clubs in Barcelona
In a lot of ways, the etiquette you’ll need to follow in a cannabis club in Barcelona is the same etiquette that you’d be asked to display in any recreational or medicinal marijuana dispensary. If you follow
the rules below, you’ll have a better shot of making a good impression when you visit a cannabis club
- Call ahead of time. As mentioned earlier in this article, cannabis clubs are private, and you can’t typically just walk into one off the street without making an appointment first. The easiest way to do this is to either call or send an email to the staff, who will give you further instructions to follow to advance the registration process.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The staff of cannabis clubs are used to both Spanish and non-spanish speakers who have never had access to the wide variety of cannabis products that are available in a cannabis club or dispensary. They’re happy to answer any questions that club members might have about the effects or genetics involved with different strains of cannabis.
- Do know the appropriate dosage for your size. If you’ve not used different kinds of weed products other than straight bud, you might wonder how much shatter, hash, or edible you need to buy and take in order to get the desired effect. With edibles, dosage is particularly important since taking too high of a dosage of edibles can lead to discomfort or panic attacks.
- Be cool. Most of the cannabis club culture in Barcelona and elsewhere in Spain is very relaxed and laid-back, with a mellow vibe. This means that other club-goers probably won’t appreciate it if you come into the club after getting day drunk for six hours and start being loud and obnoxious. Cannabis clubs have a much different vibe than a bar overall, closer to a café or coffee shop, so if you want a loud, rowdy party vibe, hit up a bar instead.
- Bring cash. You may be able to use your credit card at some of the larger or more popular cannabis clubs, but overall many of them deal with cash only and for good reason. It makes the business aspect of their organization that much more difficult to track or scrutinize. That means if you’re going to be having a long session in a Barcelona cannabis bar, make sure you bring plenty of money so you can buy all the cannabis you want. You’re going to want it all.
- Do not try to haggle. The prices that are listed are the prices you pay. Unlike some other regions of Europe, Catalonian people do not value haggling as part of their culture, so come prepared to pay whatever price is listed. If the price is an issue, make sure to check the pricing via email or phone before your visit.
Overall the cannabis clubs in Barcelona and the rest of Spain mostly enjoy a reputation of being mellow environments, and you shouldn’t have any problems while you’re in one, but it always helps to know the rules going forward, so you don’t make any social mistakes in a foreign country.
The Best Cannabis Clubs in Barcelona
Do you want to join a Cannabis Club in Barcelona? Let us help you
A good tip for visiting these clubs is to make sure you have your ID, cash for purchasing both your membership and weed (which costs additional money on top of your membership) and good manners. It’s also a good idea to learn some basic Spanish if you can.
Some of these cannabis clubs have staff that don’t know anything but Spanish or Catalan, so if your native language is not one of those two, you may have a bit of a language barrier to work through. It should be noted that these cannabis clubs vary in friendliness towards foreigners and outsiders, so being pleasant and being able to communicate clearly may be the key to getting your foot in the door.