Spain’s cannabis social clubs show that cannabis legalisation doesn’t have to mean commercialisation
Cannabis social clubs (CSCs) are private, non-profit organisations in which cannabis is collectively grown and distributed to registered members. With no profit motive to increase cannabis consumption or initiate new users, the clubs offer a more cautious, public health-centred alternative to large-scale retail cannabis markets dominated by commercial enterprises. The growth of the CSC model in Spain demonstrates that cannabis legalisation does not have to mean commercialisation. As CSCs show, it is entirely possible to restrict the availability and promotion of cannabis while at the same time making the drug legally available to adult users.
Additionally, the UN drug conventions have been interpreted as permitting CSCs, on the basis that they are an extension of decriminalisation policies. Because of this, the CSC model avoids many of the political and diplomatic obstacles associated with more far-reaching systems of legal regulation.