Traveling can be one of life’s greatest pleasures — a way to take us out of our everyday lives to see and experience different worlds and cultures. Unfortunately for cannabis consumers, traveling often unfortunately means extended time without the company of our favorite therapeutic plant. Whether consumed for medicinal or recreational purposes, vacation is not the time to be without your cannabis.
Which brings us to Barcelona, a city with accessible cannabis and a thriving social scene.
If you go to Spain for pleasure — or perhaps for a work trip to visit the large cannabis trade show Spannabis — you’ll want to know how to access the city’s network of social clubs to find high-quality cannabis.
To that end, we’ve put together this guide to the Barcelona cannabis scene to make your travels that much easier.
Cannabis In Barcelona: The Basics
Barcelona is full of bud, but getting access to it isn’t always easy because of various legal restrictions. When I was planning my own trip to Barcelona, I had no idea where to start. I would be visiting a friend who had been living there for a few months, and based on his reports, the cannabis clubs were overpriced and offered poor-quality weed. My expectations were pretty low.
Another friend referred me to a man named Bastian, a cannabis tour guide with BCN Weed Tour, who shared his insider knowledge about the Barcelona cannabis scene and showed me around town.
Barcelona has some pretty confusing rules on cannabis, but once you learn how to navigate them, it’s fairly easy to find your way around. There’s no shortage of high-quality weed — and chill social scenes in which to to enjoy it. You just need to know where to look!
Barcelona Cannabis Clubs: Members Only
The standard venues for accessing cannabis in Barcelona are cannabis social clubs or associations. These combination dispensaries and lounges include an area for obtaining cannabis, and an area with seating and any accessories and supplies you might need for your sesh. Some clubs even have food and drinks for purchase, games, comfy couches, and even DJs spinning tunes.
To access one of these clubs, you must be a member of the specific location, which usually involves a membership fee. On average, clubs charge at least 20 euros ($23) for membership and require a photo ID to join.
You Need To Be Invited To Join A Spanish Cannabis Club
On the surface, joining a cannabis club appears to be easy, but it’s not as simple as looking up a club, going there and paying the fee.
If you want to join, you must be invited by a current member. Depending on the club, this process could be easy or complicated. Each organization can provide only a limited amount of cannabis for a limited number of members. Some clubs may have already hit their allocated limit and are unwilling to let more members join.
Do you have a specific club in mind? If so, make sure you have an invitation before showing up.
“If [prospective patrons] already know which club they want to access, they might try to contact that club directly,” Bastian suggests. “Though if it’s a legit and recommendable club, they will probably say that you need to be invited [sponsored] by an existing member.”
In my own preparation for visiting Barcelona, I found it somewhat challenging to determine which clubs to try to join. I reached out to some clubs to ask exploratory questions. Each club told me that they could only answer questions for members and that I would need an invitation to get in. A few clubs provided ways to get an invitation online, but reiterated that if I showed up without an invite, they wouldn’t let me in or even answer questions at the desk. No invite, no conversation.
Cannabis Isn’t Sold — It’s Obtained Through Donations
It’s important to understand that these cannabis clubs are nonprofit — an important distinction to remain on the right side of the law. Customers don’t “buy” weed when they go inside.
“The club doesn’t ‘sell’ you the cannabis, but they ‘provide’ for your consumption,” Bastian explains.
If you want to stay on good terms with the staff at a Barcelona cannabis association, don’t refer to the establishment as a “shop” or “store,” and don’t ask about prices or about buying cannabis.
Rather, you can talk about donating a specific amount and the club will provide you with the proper amount of cannabis. Ask about the “requested donation,” not the price.
Cannabis Use And Possession In Public Remains Illegal
One of the most important things to understand about Barcelona’s laws is that cannabis can only be possessed or used in private. According to the law, the idea is for cannabis consumers to limit their use to the clubs and return when they want more, rather than take their cannabis home.
“Obviously, everyone is going home with their [leftovers],” Bastian says, adding that nothing in the law actually permits this.
This means that bringing cannabis from a club back to your house could be grounds for a fine if you’re caught before you arrive home.
“You won’t get criminal charges for smoking or holding little amounts, but you risk a fine in doing so — more than 500 euros [$567] if you get caught in a public space,” Bastian explains. “At your home, on your balcony or in a cannabis social club, it’s all safe.”
Some Cannabis Clubs Are Tourist Traps
Bastian explains that there is a difference between the clubs aimed at locals and the clubs for tourists — some clubs won’t even allow foreigners inside.
“Technically, a private association isn’t forbidden to foreigners … but some are going to put a restriction on new members based on that criteria,” Bastian explains.
In other words, some clubs are for residents only, and it makes sense. If there is a limited number of members allowed, why would a club want to fill the list with people who are around for only a week? For these clubs, it won’t matter if you get a recommendation — you simply can’t join.
On the other side of the spectrum are the clubs that are geared toward tourists — and happy to cash in on their lack of experience in the Barcelona cannabis scene.
“The most hyped and ‘commercial’ ones will usually be really open to any foreigners, and they advertise through promoters [in the streets] or online,” Bastian explains.
But these promotions violate the laws against advertising cannabis, and clubs engaging in this kind of promoting may be more likely to get targeted for a raid by law enforcement.
If someone is interested in donating less money for higher quality cannabis, these tourist traps aren’t the best choice. As my friend who’d been living there for months discovered, the clubs that were easy to find and gain access to online had low-quality bud for way too high of a donation.
Upgrading To A Barcelona Cannabis Tour
My own trip to Barcelona didn’t get on track until I met Bastian. I had been reaching out to clubs with little idea of where to go or what to try, and my inquiries weren’t yielding much in the way of results. I knew I could get invites to some of the clubs, but I didn’t want to waste my time and money going to the wrong ones. After all, it’s at least 20 euros ($23) just to walk in the door, and my friend hadn’t found any clubs worth recommending during his time in Barcelona. Then, I was referred to Bastian’s BCN Weed Tours. Not only did Bastian prepare me for everything I’d experience during my trip, but he created a customized tour of cannabis clubs and led my friends and me on an epic cannabis adventure around the city.
By the end of the tour, I had chosen a favorite club, and my friend was bemoaning the fact that he’d spent months in Barcelona and had only then discovered how much high-quality cannabis was right under his nose. It was clear that I’d made the right call.
Going through a guide or promoter makes access much easier.
“We are in contact daily with the clubs in order to facilitate the membership appointments — something that the club can’t really do themselves,” Bastian explains. “We know which clubs are still accepting new members and we know about the restrictions that some clubs have, so it will save you a lot of time. And we can advise you where is best to go.”
This was definitely my experience. I let Bastian know my criteria — high-quality cannabis, reasonable donations, chill ambiance and a location near my Airbnb. He did the rest. He suggested three clubs in my area, and we went to them all. Each one had a unique feel and brought something different to the table.
Cannabis Social Clubs In Barcelona Worth A Visit
The Backyard Cannabis Social Club
Our first stop was The Backyard. The place was full of house plants, bright lights and lawn furniture, so it really felt like being in someone’s backyard. The ambiance was relaxed, spacious and welcoming. The owner of the club even came by and smoked with us, sharing some flower that hadn’t yet made it to the menu. As a cannabis journalist from California’s Bay Area, I’ve been exposed to some of the best cannabis out there, and in terms of quality, The Backyard’s bud was top-notch.
Mon Ami Social Cannabis Club
Our next stop was Mon Ami, which ended up being my favorite haunt during my stay in Barcelona. This was a bigger club, with a large dispensary downstairs and a big hangout space upstairs. The dispensary had a lot of options for reasonable donations. I’m picky when it comes to strains, but they had so much variety that I found multiple options that worked for me. Upstairs, I found the cannabis smoking area, complete with leather couches arranged around coffee tables. This chill zone also featured a variety of board games, a pool table, a snack bar, and even an occasional live DJ. It was the perfect place to hang out and relax with friends, and I came back day after day to do just that.
Tresor Members Club
Our last stop Tresor had a small coffee shop vibe. Tables and chairs filled the space, and the patrons seemed focused on work or studying as they smoked and tapped away on laptops. The menu was small but the donations were low. I found a fantastic gram of hash for a donation of 6 euros ($7). The real highlight of Tresor, though, was the art on the walls. The whole place was covered in graffiti from some of the city’s favorite artists, and it was worth the trip just to see the incredible pieces.
All in all, taking a guided tour was the right choice for me, but every tour guide may be different. I recommend looking for guides that work with many different clubs, not just one or two. With the BCN Weed Tour, my guide was able help direct me toward many club options, and even shifted the plan mid-tour in response to a late request that the clubs be in a specific neighborhood.
Best of all, these tours are reasonably priced. For no charge, they will answer questions about the best places to go and get you set up with membership invites and appointments at each club. For an extra charge, they will take you around personally, introducing you to the cannabis scene and helping you on your way.
So, what are you waiting for? Your perfect cannabis tourism vacation is just around the corner.