Editor’s note: This editorial was contributed by Johnny Green, Media and Content Director for the International Cannabis Business Conference.
Cannabis reform is on the move across the globe, with the European continent being particularly ripe for adult-use cannabis legalization right now. It is no secret that lawmakers in Germany are pushing for legalization and that a measure is expected to be formally introduced in the first quarter of this year. When that happens, it will likely set off a cannabis reform butterfly effect in many countries across Europe. Will that extend to Spain?
Spain is home to one of the best cannabis communities on earth, with Barcelona in particular serving as the social cannabis use capital of the world. You will be hard-pressed to find a better place on the planet to be a cannabis consumer than in Spain, with hundreds of private cannabis clubs operating in a legal grey market. However, the current situation in Spain has yielded a populace that is seemingly complacent about cannabis reform, and that has historically complicated legalization efforts.
What Is The Current Status Of Cannabis Policy In Spain?
Cannabis policy in Spain is unique in many ways, with the current approach to cannabis regulation being very limited despite commerce being so commonplace. Private cannabis activity is not prohibited in Spain per se, which is why private cannabis clubs have become so popular. Yet it’s a situation that is not likely sustainable and it would greatly benefit consumers, patients, entrepreneurs, investors, and taxpayers if Spain updated its cannabis laws and regulations.
Cannabis reform efforts in Spain are set to be a very popular topic at the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference in Barcelona, taking place on March 9.
Attorney Bernardo Soriano Guzmán, from the leading cannabis firm S & F Abogados, will serve as the moderator for the ‘Squaring The Circle Of Industrial Hemp In Spain’ panel at the event. I recently reached out to Bernardo Soriano Guzmán leading up to the conference to get the real scoop about what is going on in Spain.
“During this legislative term, four laws have been presented in the Congress and Senate to regulate adult-use cannabis. One of them has been drafted by S&F lawyers along with other collaborators. A law that fully regulates the production and distribution cycle of cannabis and non-psychoactive cannabis. Despite this intense legislative activity, none of the laws currently have the necessary majority for approval. So, without a doubt, this electoral year that we begin, the regulation of cannabis will be an important point in the political programs and possible electoral alliances for the formation of the next government of Spain, as has happened in Germany in 2021 with the coalition of the traffic light.” — Bernardo Soriano Guzmán, in a statement
Medical Cannabis In Spain
Medical cannabis is already legal in Spain to some degree, and medical cannabis industry licenses are already on the books. With that being said, the regulated medical cannabis industry in Spain is focused on exports and research. Updated domestic safe access provisions and regulations are desperately needed, and fortunately, various lawmakers and advocates are pushing for them.
“Last year 2021, a resolution in the form of a report of conclusions was approved in the Congress of Spain to give access to patients of medicinal cannabis,” Guzmán said. “This report is pending to be implemented once the Spanish Medicines and Health Products Agency (AEMPS) proposes how to do it. The regulation proposed is quite restricted to strictly pharmaceutical channels, with flowers of cannabis not having a predominant role, rather finished products and magistral formulas.”
“Self-cultivation for medicinal use is also not allowed. Additionally in Spain for years licenses for research and production of medicinal cannabis have been granted, a total of 21 licenses having been granted to date December 2022.
In terms of industrial hemp: “The position of the Spanish authorities is very restrictive beyond the classic industrial uses of hemp (production of fiber and seeds). The use of hemp flowers is prohibited, even for the extraction of unregulated cannabinoids (Cannabidiol, cannabigerol, cannabidiol…),” Guzmán said.
“This situation has generated a multitude of proceedings in the courts that have made the Supreme Court recently confirm in a ruling the restrictive vision of the Spanish authorities. This situation clashes quite with the wave of positive changes regarding hemp that are taking place in Europe, especially as a result of the position of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Countries such as France which recently, in a completely contrary line to that of the Spanish authorities, has finally authorized the use of hemp flowers for all uses,” Guzmán concluded.
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