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    CSC cannabis social club clubs clubes marihuana marijuana ICEERS study Europe Europa

    Mapping Cannabis Social Clubs in Europe


    Mapping Cannabis Social Clubs in Europe

    Mafalda Pardal, Tom Decorte, Melissa Bone, Òscar Parés, and Julia Johansson.

    European Journal of Criminology



    About the study

    The European Journal of Criminology published a study, conducted by  Dr. Mafalda Pardal and Dr. Tom Decorte, in collaboration with ICEERS’ Deputy Director, Òscar Parés, to provide an accurate picture and in-depth understanding of the growing phenomenon of Cannabis Social Clubs in Europe.

    The survey was translated into all the official languages of the EU zone and completed by 81 Cannabis Social Clubs. The researchers identified Cannabis Social Clubs in thirteen European countries, despite the fact that the model remains prohibited across the European Union.

    The authors found interesting differences in terms of who is cultivating the cannabis for the clubs and the types of cannabis products available at the CSCs.  They had a diverse repertoire of action, focusing on both the social aspects associated with the model and with the supply of cannabis to the associated users.



    Background: Cannabis Social Clubs (CSCs) are typically non-profit associations of adult cannabis users who collectively produce and distribute cannabis among themselves. Since the emergence of the model in Spain during the 1990s, other countries may have seen the appearance of CSCs (or CSC-like associations) but there is a dearth of knowledge about the phenomenon in Europe.

    Methods: The goals of this analysis are to: (1) map the presence of CSCs across the European Union; and (2) examine how CSCs are operating in such settings. The data included in our analysis derive from a 2018–19 survey. The 30-item questionnaire comprised questions about CSCs’ origins and relations with other stakeholders and organizations, the types of activities the CSCs developed and their views on cannabis regulation. The questionnaire was translated into all the official languages of the EU zone and sent via email to the participants. 

    Results: In total, 81 CSCs completed the questionnaire. Beyond Spain and Belgium, where the CSC presence has already been documented, we were able to identify CSCs in 11 other countries. The longest-running CSC in our sample was established in 1999, but most emerged in the past decade. The smallest CSC in our sample reported 6 registered members, whereas the largest counted a total of 5000 members. Most CSCs were cultivating or distributing cannabis to their members at the time of the survey, but engaged in other informative, entertainment and activist activities as well. 

    Conclusions: The CSC model remains prohibited across the EU. CSC activists have thus by and large shaped the way CSCs operate, often adapting to domestic law particularities or law enforcement activities. In this article, we present and discuss the range of CSC practices from 13 different European countries, and what these represent for the consideration of the CSC model in current policy debates.


    Link to the article


    Contact ICEERS Research team

    Photo by Wesley Gibbs on Unsplash.

    Categories: Studies & papers , Cannabis
    Tags: medical cannabis , Cannabis Social Clubs (CSC) , activism , supply , European Union , cannabis policy , cannabis , scientific research , study , drug policy