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It is not something new that private associations of cannabis users receive inspections from technicians from the City Council as it is something that is usually done every year, although sometimes they may be accompanied by agents from the Local Police. Normally they would be carried out to check that the premises have up-to-date paperwork, the facilities in order and that the activity regulations are followed.

During the year 2023, inspections were carried out on these premises on two occasions, the first was at the beginning of the year and a series of inspections that had begun in previous months of 2022 continued due to the ruling of the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC). ) that annulled the PEU with which Barcelona City Council had urban planning-regulated the opening of new associations of cannabis users in the city since June 2016. Previously, the associations had received a notification from the City Council notifying them of the cancellation of the PEU and the inspections that were going to be carried out, the associations were also reminded that the law did not allow promoting the cultivation, consumption or sale of cannabis and that this would be reviewed during the visits.

At that time, many associations ended up receiving sanctions for different reasons, all of them appealed by lawyers and, although some entities were closed for a few days, no association in Barcelona was closed and they continued with their activity. Since the PEU was annulled in the city, cannabis user association headquarters have continued to open with the “private club” license, the same one with which they already opened before 2015 when the PEU license had not yet been approved. Around 30 new associations have now opened in 2023 without the distance regulations between headquarters or educational and medical centers, which has caused the number of clubs in the same area to increase in neighborhoods where the opening of these premises had already been controlled.

The next inspections in 2023 came in the form of a “Search for Cannabis Edibles”, apparently a well-known international candy brand was looking for edible products that were being distributed in associations and used a name and logos that imitated the brand's official ones. registered. Several associations received inspections from city council agents but when these products were not found, they were terminated and no further action was taken.

Both at this moment and in the previous ones. A large number of associations were concerned about the outcome that the annulment of the PEU and the inspections that were being carried out could take, at the same time that they heard how different political groups were running for the elections. Municipal councils in Mayo used the “closing of associations” as a recurring theme during the campaign. After very fair results from all parties and a few months of negotiations, the socialist Jaume Collboni was appointed mayor and in October he already announced his plans to activate a "Campaign to fight against drugs."

Already at that time and since the summer, the Cannabis clubs were beginning to give something to talk about on local television and radio stations in Barcelona. In some media, the associations next to the narco flats were included when talking about drug sales points, residents of Ciutat Vella were interviewed who were concerned about the influx of street-level promoters on Las Ramblas recruiting people to take to cannabis clubs or They broadcast special programs where they interviewed people like the recently appointed deputy mayor and for years in charge of the Urban Police in the center of the city, Albert Batlle, who did not hesitate to express his animosity towards the associations, already talking about carrying out inspections again soon to verify that your activity is within the law.

Gonzalo de Oro, portavoz del grupo VOX

For weeks, many associations were besieged by local plainclothes police who waited in the vicinity of the premises and stopped all the members when they left them to see if they had any products on them and managed to register some complaints. Even though they were stopping members for whom they could not find anything and who declared that the association did not distribute cannabis, the agents continued to successively stop the following members who were leaving with the intention of finding some cannabis product or some statement that compromised the association. association.

Then it was last December 13 when the alarm really went off among cannabis consumer associations when Albert Batlle again, in a meeting with several neighborhood groups, publicly declared his intentions to “close all cannabis associations in the city,” without offering alternatives, not even talking about consumption risk prevention plans or information campaigns or anything similar, he limited himself to stating that he would double the number of inspections with the intention of sanctioning as many times as necessary in order to close as many as possible. Two days later and for a week, a series of inspections were carried out on dozens of associations in different neighborhoods of the city. At least a couple of inspectors from the City Council and another couple of agents from the Urban Police appeared at the headquarters of these associations, asking for the regulatory papers, checking the members if they had any cannabis products, taking photos of the premises where ashtrays were seen. , butts, smoking accessories or even collecting samples of cannabis herbs for subsequent analysis, all with the intention of collecting evidence that serves as proof that acts of consumption are being carried out within the facilities.

The federation of cannabis associations of Catalonia CATFAC met with technicians from the City Council to convey their concern about the latest declarations of intentions of the council and the inspections that were being carried out, also reminding them of the work of more than 10 years in favor of the rights of the consumers and associations and at the same time telling them that the annulment of the PEU and the lack of state regulation had favored the recent opening of more stores for cannabis users with the appearance of associations but that actually function more like simple dispensaries. Likewise, the cannabis party LUZ VERDE reported through the social networks about the inspections that were being carried out and wrote a letter to the Barcelona City Council asking them for a meeting and also reminding them of the work carried out for years with the Public Administrations, Parliament of Catalonia, Generalitat and City Council as well as listing the list of countries where cannabis has already been regulated and the Spanish cannabis club model that the Catalan council is trying to repress has been or will be implemented.

ON December 20, the spokesperson for the political group VOX Gonzalo de Oro demanded that the City Council close all associations and stores related to cannabis in the city. On Friday, December 22, just before the Christmas festivities began, there was talk again about cannabis associations in the plenary session of the City Council, this time it was the political group VOX that presented a proposal to "do everything possible to eradicate associations and cannabis-related shops in the city. Voting in favor of the VOX, PP, Junts and PSC proposal.

During the weeks of Christmas celebrations, there were no inspections, although all associations are waiting and would be carrying them out again since mid-January. The LUZ VERDE party has called a rally in the Plaza Sant Jaume in Barcelona for January 19, the date on which "San Canuto" is celebrated in the cannabis community, to show the discontent and disagreement of the associations and users with the declarations of intentions made by various political groups in the Catalan council.

The different law firms that advise these associations have gone to work to prepare appeals against possible sanctions but warn that the intentions of the City Council are very clear and that the latest guidelines that the Prosecutor's Office is setting are not encouraging at all.

These next few weeks we will be attentive and we will be telling you all the news that occurs with the situation of persecution of the Barcelona clubs, which are already preparing the resources and even suing the City Council if they cause their closure.

We hope to continue enjoying The Best Smokes


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