Cannabis Clubs in Europe
Cannabis Social Clubs as an Emerging Model of Cannabis Supply: Strengths and Weaknesses
Tom Decorte, from the Ghent University, made a contribution to the 2012 Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology, in the category “Traditional and New Forms of Crime and Deviance,” under the title “Cannabis Social Clubs as an Emerging Model of Cannabis Supply: Strengths and Weaknesses”. Here is the abstract: Cannabis Social Clubs (CSC's) are a proposal of self-production and self-distribution of cannabis for the personal use of adults, which are organized in non-profit systems of shared responsibility with the goal of reducing the risks associated with cannabis use and its derivatives, and to prevent possible harms. CSC's are non-profit associations whose members are adult cannabis users, most of whom use it recreationally, although others use cannabis medicinally. People who join the club have to fulfill conditions in order to avoid risks of selling or passing on to third persons or to minors. The CSC members organize a professional, collective cultivation of limited quantities of cannabis to cover the personal needs of their club members and the system is regulated by security and quality checks. In Spain the first CSC was created in Barcelona, and was soon followed by others in Catalonia and the Basque country (most well-known associations are Pannagh and Ganjazz). The actual number of clubs and associations with collective plantations currently operating in Spain is unknown, but depending on the source, numbers range between 20 and 40. The model of a CSC was also developed in other countries, such as Switzerland and Belgium. In Belgium one group of people ('Trekt uw plant') has made several attempts to set up a CSC, but they were immediately countered by the police and the public prosecutor.
More about the Paper
In our paper we would like to examine the phenomenon of CSC more in detail. We would like to describe the models in detail (their formal organization), and establish links between these grassroot models of cannabis supply and the legal regimes of these countries (and the insecurities these legal systems produce for users in the illegal market). We want to examine the extent to which these CSC's gained legal recognition and legitimacy in Spain and Belgium. Finally, we want to describe and analyze the responses to these social experiments, both from official authorities and from other actors in the illegal drug markets. On the one hand we want to illustrate processes of formal criminalization of these social experiments in both countries; on the other we want to describe informal responses from other cannabis suppliers towards CSC's.
- “Cannabis Social Clubs as an Emerging Model of Cannabis Supply: Strengths and Weaknesses”, by Tom Decorte (Proceedings)