The municipal council has approved definitively the new ordinance regulating the operation and location of the cannabis clubs.

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The cannabis clubs are one of those issues that come and go in city main subjet. They have supporters and detractors. Almost nobody stays on neutral ground because it is a topic that drags clichés, legal vacuum, fears, ignorance and bad practice; almost always it generates a festering social and political debate. The government of Ada Colau inherited from CiU a special plan to regulate its operation sayes Carlos Marques Daniel for El Periodico.

Xavier Trias had an undeclared war against marijuana. Draconian conditions for regulation were suposed to close 112 of the 123 clubs that in May last year had operating license in the Catalan capital. When applying on the map 150 meters distance estimated that there should be between these associations and the places frequented by minors (schools, libraries, sports centers …) and municipal facilities, most of the clubs were forced close their doors. To rescue those licenses, as has provided Tuesday the Deputy Mayor Janet Sanz, the city had to allocate 14.4 million euros in compensation, amount that CiU reduced to one-third maximum.

Barcelona has reduced that distance to 100 meters apart from Ciutat Vella and Gràcia, where the converged perimeter is maintained because local density requires it. But the most significant difference is that those who already have municipal permit may stay where they are, even next to a school, a CAP or drug rehabilitation center, but they the have to provide other technical requirements. Of course, whoever has a veteran status may not transfer the business.

Regarding the minimum distance, the proposal of the council is: “The distance with schools also aims to avoid the coexistence of cannabis clubs in a situation of excessive proximity with a type of equipment where there is a high concentration of young people, which it is the most vulnerable group regard to cannabis.” The same concern shared document regarding equipment for persons undergoing addiction treatment.

Another condition of the government’s plan was discussed at the Planning Commission, that the cannabis associations can not exceed 200 square meters, requirement also saved those who already are licensed and exceed that surface. What they must meet all, old and new, it is the installation of the extractor, independent access from the street and a double door or hallway separation. To adapt the premises, the council granted a period of 18 months from the entry of the legislation.

Eric Asensio, spokesman for the Federation of Cannabis de Catalunya (CatFAC), welcomes the proposal “ceases to be retroactive,” which will prevent said, “that no club may have to close”. Explain that are the least those who are near schools, and blames the social rejection “to the ignorance and malpractice of some locals”. He says that dialogue and negotiation “have been much more open with Barcelona in Comú with CiU” and they want to discuss and publicize the rules of the Federation of Neighborhood Associations of Barcelona (FAVB) for the guild not to generate so much rejection in neighborhoods. They also want to talk with associations of parents, who may have the most objections to the new project proposed.

The CiU government suspended new licenses on June 13, 2014 with the promise to develop the policy. With the arrival of the elections of May 2015 Trias team had to push the moratorium for an year-after the initial approval of the government commission plan. The forecast convergent, that did not contemplate the possibility of losing the council, was to approve the measure, criticized by organizations and opposition, in full October or November. With the arrival of Colau everything has been delayed, but on the horizon is the limit of the second moratorium. If until June 13, 2016 has not being approved the special plan urbanistic for the territorial management of the clubs and associations of cannabis, the city will return to the previous veto of new licenses scenario, that is, to a much laxer rules and what was precisely the reason that caused the “boom” of these premises in the Catalan capital. It will succeed in the May plenary session. Seems that are on the right track.

Double blow in to the union of marijuana

In the recent weeks there have been two stories that bring out the bad practice of some of the cannabis clubs, something that associations are complain about because, in their view, are damaging the image of the associations when too little or nothing is known beyond the arrests and raids and is the only thing made public. On May 4, the Civil Guard dismantled a criminal network dedicated to traffic of marijuana in Barcelona. They arested 10 people and registered eight homes and the K-lite club, in the street Muntaner. The inspectors believe that marijuana cultivated in those flats was for selling it to local customers. In Catalonia, the cultivation of marijuana in private enclosures has been extended in recent years. These home gardens not only facilitate the growth of plants away from prying eyes but also increase production efficiency through simulation of sunlight with lamps.

In mid-April there was another news related to this sector. The Court in Barcelona sentenced to five years imprisonment for the two founders of the club La Mesa, located in Street Rec, for the crime of drug trafficking and other illicit associations. In November 2013, the city police seized nearly 2,400 plants-about 20 kilos of marijuana in a warehouse rented by the two convicted.