When I travel, I appreciate seeing how other cultures treat cannabis and how local attitudes and traditions affect the experience. Obviously, this is much more enjoyable in cannabis friendly locations.
I had the opportunity to spend some time adventuring through the south of Spain, and I was excited to learn of their somewhat progressive cannabis laws. After sharing some experiences on my Instagram feed, I had many people reach out and ask about my encounters enjoying cannabis abroad.
So I’m sharing some of the things I’ve learned during my travels in this quick guide to finding cannabis along the Costa del Sol and the southern cities of the Iberian peninsula.
A couple important factors to keep in mind when you’re traveling abroad in general, and especially if you decide to consume cannabis:
- You are a visitor, so be respectful.
- Before you go, do some simple research. Check local laws on cannabis and see if you can find anyone with personal experience.
- If you’re not sure what’s acceptable, use good judgement and ask a friendly local.
Is Cannabis Legal in Spain?
Simply put, cannabis is not legal in Spain, but the reality is that it’s not so cut-and-dry. Spain lacks strict cannabis regulation and enforcement, but its rich Catholic history gives it a somewhat conservative perspective, even with its carefree lifestyle.
While cannabis is not legal in Spain, personal use is generally considered decriminalized. The interpretation of Spain’s cannabis laws is a bit fluid, and it’s important to remember that there is a fine line between personal use and commercial use. It can be as thin as having two different strains in separate containers, and the interpretation of local laws is up to a region’s governing agency.
It is illegal to smoke cannabis in public and growing and selling it commercially is not an entirely legal enterprise. This has lead to a rise in private clubs that help supply members with personal amounts of cannabis. They operate in a legal grey area, are generally discreet, and their cooperative approach fosters a somewhat underground community. They operate very similarly to early medical collectives.
Where Can You Find Cannabis in Spain?
Barcelona is the hub of Spanish cannabis culture. It’s a metropolitan city on the northeastern shores of the country, and has a booming cannabis community with many private clubs where members can share and consume cannabis with relative freedom. It’s also home to Spannabis, one of the largest global cannabis-centric festivals, which has taken place for the last 15 years and seen widespread growth in recent years.
It’s been more than a decade since I’ve searched for cannabis in Barcelona, so I set out to the cities of Seville and Málaga, and their surrounding areas to see what I could find.
When I arrive anywhere, the first thing I do is check out Leafly’s Finder tool to see what dispensaries pop up. If I’m in a region with less-than-favorable cannabis laws, I always like to check out other resources too. In some areas where cannabis remain more underground, people and businesses prefer more discretion than a cannabis website like Leafly can provide, so just because you don’t find a club listed doesn’t mean they don’t exist. If you aren’t finding what you’re looking for, try Google Maps or some of the more popular travel forums.
Seville and Málaga
In Seville, the first location to pop up was Green City Seville, and lucky for me it was only a few blocks from where I was staying. In Málaga, I learned that many of the private clubs were located outside of the city’s jurisdiction and further down the coast in some of the more progressive towns. Club Social Málaga was only two miles away and was easily accessible with a quick bus ride to the west of the town’s center.
Before I ventured to either of the locations, I gave them a call to get a sense of what type of documentation I would need to secure a membership. If you don’t have luck reaching them by phone, try email or even Facebook, which I’ve found much more successful for communication.
Both clubs told me essentially the same thing: Bring your passport and cash to pay for the year-long membership dues. I also brought my medical cannabis recommendation with me. Although it isn’t necessary, I always feel safer knowing that I have a physician’s recommendation to use cannabis, even if local laws vary from those at home.
Green City Seville and Club Social Málaga both provided me 12-month memberships for €30 each. That’s roughly $34 dollars to access a safe, comfortable, and friendly place to consume and purchase cannabis. Well worth it if you ask me!
So, How’s the Cannabis?
I’ll be honest, the quality wasn’t anything mind-blowing, but it’s generally on par with what we consider mids here in the states—healthy and green with a subtle dusting of frost, but lacking any loud or complex terpene profiles. When you’re away from home you can’t be as picky, so I was just excited to see that I had a few different options.
At Green City Seville, they roughly had 10 different strains to choose from, all of a similar quality and priced between €8 to €15 a gram ($9 to $17). They also had a number of different hashes, available between €10 and €25 a gram ($11 to $28).
They had some Lebanese hashes, some charas from the foothills of the Himalayas, and a number of different Moroccan-style hashes. With Morocco right across the strait of Gibraltar, Spain has a healthy supply of its traditional hashish.
I purchased some G13, which reminded me a lot of the bud you’d find in the coffeeshops of Amsterdam—stoney and effective without being distinctively flavorful. I also snagged some OG Kush from Dinafem, which had a much sweeter citrus vibe than the dank, gassy pine flavors I’m used to from true OGs. Though not exactly what I would have expected, I left the club happy and high after sharing a couple joints with some locals around the bar.
Club Social Málaga was a little different in that they only had one strain of flower and one type of hash. Both sold for €10 a gram. When I asked what we were smoking, I was simply told “Kush” and “Moroccan,” and while I prefer more options when shopping for cannabis, it was nostalgic to be limited to whatever my “dealer” had available. It also reminded me of how lucky I am at home to have access to such a diversity of strains at my fingertips.
So long as you know the right places to look, I believe you can find quality cannabis anywhere in the world. Sometimes safe, easy access beats out top quality, especially if you are traveling on a budget or in a region with restrictive cannabis laws.
While the quality and consistency of cannabis in the Spanish clubs weren’t what I was used to at US dispensaries, I was happy to have found like-minded people to share some smoke with and to find a place I could comfortably consume cannabis in an otherwise foreign land.
If you are headed to Spain, I definitely recommend that you check out the local cannabis clubs. If you find yourself in Seville or Málaga specifically, make sure to stop by Green City Seville and Club Social Málaga and say hello to their friendly staff.