History, Laws & Business Opportunities

for Cannabis in Spain

Spain has a decades-long history of relative tolerance of marijuana, particularly in comparison to some of its European neighbors. Since 2015, the country has progressively become more tolerant of cannabis, but it still has a way to go.

Cannabis in Spain is unique in that its drug laws don’t extend to homes and privately owned spaces, and the country’s cannabis clubs are growing in popularity. As such, navigating the country’s cannabis regulations requires a thorough understanding of its laws. Here’s what to know about cannabis in Spain.

History of Cannabis in Spain

In the 1970s, a series of Supreme Court rulings decriminalized possession of small amounts of any drugs in Spain. Then, in 2015, the personal cultivation of marijuana was decriminalized and nonprofit cannabis clubs started to spring up throughout the country.

Currently, there are an estimated 500 to 700 cannabis clubs in Spain, which charge membership fees instead of charging directly for marijuana. Although cannabis clubs are legally required to be nonprofit, the industry exists in a legal gray area and is largely unregulated.

In October 2018, the far-left political party Podemos introduced a law to completely legalize marijuana and encourage farming cooperatives and small to medium-sized agricultural operations to plant the crop in an effort to “stop big businesses from creating monopolies and oligopolies…” and reduce the black market for cannabis in Spain.

Then, in June 2022, The Spanish Health and Consumption Commission of the Congress of Deputies approved the recommendations of the Medical Cannabis Subcommittee, which included calling for the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products to create a plan to regulate a comprehensive medical cannabis industry by the end of 2022.

However, as of January 2023, the Ministry of Health had yet to produce those recommendations, leading many to believe the prospect of a fully regulated Spanish medical cannabis industry emerging in 2023 to be unlikely.

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What to Know About Medical
Cannabis In Spain

In February of 2023, Spanish lawmakers proposed legislation to reform its medical cannabis industry. Though the reform measure failed to pass through the legislature, Spain has, nonetheless, strongly bolstered its medical cannabis industry.

The Spanish Ministry of Health is required to notify the International Narcotics Board of the United Nations (INBUN) each year about the country’s projected cannabis output. In recent years, Spain produced 600 kilos of medical cannabis in 2021 and increased its output to 6,000 kilos in 2022.

In their 2023 notification to the INBUN, Spain forecasted it would produce approximately 23.43 tons (21,255.34 kilos) of medical cannabis — an increase of over 350%! This rapid increase should be of serious interest to aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs because it demonstrates the growing strength of medical cannabis in Spain.

Though this is a substantial increase in production, the cannabis produced will not make its way into the domestic medical cannabis industry because Spain continues to lack a full legal framework for medical cannabis. In 2023, Spanish politicians and cannabis activists continue to push for comprehensive cannabis reform because Spain’s current regulated cannabis industry is focused on exports and research.

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Licenses in Spain

If you’re looking to attain a license for hemp or cannabis in Spain, Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting can help. Our team of cannabis licensing consultants and technical writers has had great success helping newcomers and experienced operators attain licenses all over the world.

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What to Know About
Recreational Cannabis in Spain

Recreational marijuana use in Spain exists in a complicated legal gray area. It’s illegal to buy or sell cannabis — selling can lead to one to three (or more) years of jail time in addition to a fine — but personal cultivation and use were decriminalized in 2015.

As of 2022, it’s legal to cultivate and smoke cannabis in Spain for your own personal use, as well as to buy and sell marijuana paraphernalia like seeds. Individuals are permitted to grow and consume marijuana on their private property, as long as the plant is not in public view.

However, it’s illegal to sell or traffic cannabis and to smoke cannabis in public places (with the exception of cannabis clubs).

The Future of Cannabis in Spain

Despite the setbacks, Spain is clearly on the trajectory towards a fully regulated medical cannabis industry. Though the Ministry of Health failed to meet its December 2022 deadline to produce comprehensive legislative proposals, it’s reported that a regulatory roadmap was successfully crafted.

That said, like its EU contemporaries that are also walking down the path toward full legalization, Spain has extraordinary hurdles it must first clear. The EU has strong regulations that outlaw cannabis for anything other than medical or research uses. So while medical cannabis social clubs continue to thrive, it will certainly be a while before we see fully legal cannabis in Spain.

The marijuana industry in Spain is rapidly evolving, and a professional marijuana consulting firm like Higher Yields Consulting can help you understand the legal nuances of marijuana in Spain, and help you become a competitive player in the market if marijuana becomes commercially legal. Contact us today to learn more.

Last updated: June 2023

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