Cannabis Social Clubs
in the Basque Country
The Basque Country carved its place in the annals of cannabis world history in 1997. In this year, the Kalamudia Association of Bilbao successfully completed a crop of cannabis without legal obstacle from the Spanish state – and paved the way for the hundreds of Cannabis Social Clubs (CSCs) that now thrive throughout the country.
The fight between the cannabis-using public and the state had already been simmering since 1993, since a Barcelona-based collective first challenged the law and publicly grew a crop for distribution among its members.
However, this early victory certainly did not mean that the legal battle was over. The fight between the cannabis-using public and the state had already been simmering since 1993, since a Barcelona-based collective first challenged the law and publicly grew a crop for distribution among its members. This crop was soon seized by the authorities.
In 2005, three members of the Bilbao CSC Pannagh were arrested while harvesting cannabis intended for club members. One of the arrestees was Martín Barriuso, president both of Pannagh and of the Spanish Federation of Cannabis Associations (FAC). This incident was unremarkable in itself, as various club members had been subject to arrest by that time.
But in 2006, the Basque Country made cannabis history again, when the regional court ruled in favor of Barriuso and his fellow defendants in an unprecedented move. It was this landmark ruling that was to precipitate the subsequent explosion of CSCs in Spain, more than any other factor up to that point.
In the years since then, CSCs have exploded in number – particularly in Barcelona, which now has around 200 clubs. But still the legal battle with the disapproving Spanish state has continued – and in 2015, things came to a head in ways that put the future of the entire Spanish industry in question.
In the Basque Country, two major Supreme Court rulings would take place. In the first, members of the Bilbao CSC Ebers Association were sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment and fined €5,000 each. In the second, members of Pannagh including Martín Barriuso were sentenced to twenty months’ imprisonment and fines of €250,000 each.
In both cases, the defendants are not required to serve the prison sentence. But that’s not enough for the determined activists, who are currently appealing their convictions. Interested readers can learn more about the ongoing CSC legal battles in the Basque Country directly from Martín Barriuso himself, by checking out his page over at the Sensi Seeds blog.