The Catalan Cannabis Law

Parlament of Catalonia

The consumption of cannabis by adults, in the private sphere, whether for recreational reasons or for therapeutic reasons, is an option that forms part of the exercise of the fundamental right to the free development of the personality, the right to freedom of conscience and disposition of one’s own body, and also the right to health and to choose therapies and treatments most appropriate to each person’s state of health.

After more than half a century of prohibitionist and repressive policies towards the consumption of cannabis carried out both in Catalonia and in much of the world, there is a significant part of the population that consumes this substance in a situation of legal and health insecurity that represents an unfair discrimination and the violation of their fundamental rights. These policies have fostered the existence of an underground market that supplies headless cannabis quality control, with an absolute lack of information to the consumer about the properties of the product, such as an environment that makes it difficult to know and apply public health policies aimed at minimising the risks and reducing the harms resulting from the consumption of cannabis.

Citizen participation is a key part in the functioning of the democratic system. Popular sovereignty is exercised through the different channels of participation which establish the Constitution, the Statute and the local regime legislation, both the state like the autonomous region.

The opportunities offered by regulating the activity of cannabis users’ associations are important:

  • firstly, it breaks the opacity and invisibility, so that the reality of the phenomenon can be better known and, therefore, effective policies can be implemented;
  • it increases the degree of knowledge about the substance, as well as the training and information of users;
  • it allows access to the population that is a user and improves prevention and harm reduction policies;
  • It makes it easier to prohibit the promotion of the consumption of the substance;
  • it reduces the possibilities for consumers to come into contact with the illicit market for cannabis and other drugs;
  • it introduces limits to a reality that has so far been unregulated and without clear limits, which makes it possible to act on offenders objectively and avoid the current over-penalisation by the judicial system.