Cannabis Social Club

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Cannabis Social Club (CSC), sometimes called Cannabis Club, Cannabis Association, or Teapad, is an industry model for regulated cannabis[1] organised as non-profit cooperatives in which cannabis is cultivated, shared, and enjoyed collectively, usually for the purpose of relaxing or for social communion.

These places differ from standard cannabis dispensaries, or Dutch coffeeshops, in that those are operating in a for-profit basis open to all adults, whereas Cannabis Clubs operate on non-profit grounds and only allow access to registered members.[2] Research suggests that CSCs can have positive outcomes in terms of public health and harm reduction.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]


1920s and the early concept in Northern America[edit]

Cannabis consumers clubs became popular in the United States during prohibition. Cannabis was often used as a legal intoxicant since alcohol was illegal.[17] Teapads were developed as clubs in urban areas where jazz music was performed and cannabis was consumed.[18]

Teapads usually catered to those in the jazz scene and were usually furnished comfortably, often playing jazz music.[19] Music in homage from these clubs arose; Gene Krupa even composed an entire album named "Teapad Songs Volume 1".[20]

These clubs disappeared after cannabis became illegal, although some groups (such as the early San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club) continued to operate a model with similar tenets.

2000s and the European model[edit]

During the 1990s and early 2000s, an important number of "cannabis users associations" appeared in Spain, mostly the Basque country and Catalonia regions.[14] Many of these Spanish groups were members of the pan-European non-government organization ENCOD[21][2] which coined the expression Cannabis Social Club in 2005, as a way to better describe the conceptual economic and organizational model of these groups. The term was also thought as a way to enable the normalization of this model for the legal production and distribution of cannabis for adults.[22][23][24]

Cannabis Social Clubs are non-commercial organizations which organize the professional, collective cultivation of very limited amounts of cannabis, just enough to cover the personal needs of their club members.[25]

Cultivation, transport, distribution and consumption are subject to security and quality checks, and are done without publicity or advertisement of any kind. The members finance the system by subscriptions, according to their needs. Each member gets a value card with units, according to their credit, with a maximum limit per month and per year. The members are prohibited from reselling any cannabis obtained from the club, and are required to ensure that it is not consumed by minors.[26] In their European Cannabis Social Club Guidelines,[27] ENCOD explains:

CSCs are characterised by transparency, democracy and non-profitability. They function as an association, with complete openness about financial arrangements to their members, so the members can see how the costs are calculated and the money is spent. CSC's organise a general assembly at least once a year, where annual reports are discussed and approved. These reports include a full balance of income and expenses in the past fiscal year, according to the rules established for this purpose. A CSC is not a business in which there are economic benefits that are used for personal profit. The benefits are not shared between the partners, and therefore, it could be less attractive to criminal structures. Unlike cannabis distributors who operate on the illegal market, CSC's are willing to enter into dialogue with authorities to provide insight into their working methods, in the framework of the elaboration of regulation of cannabis.[27]

In contrast to the Cannabis Buyers Club, a CSC are not limited to medical-only use. In the United States, Cannabis Social Clubs often do not allow the dispensation of cannabis products onsite, but only allow consumption. They are sometimes referred to as Cannabis Consumption Clubs.

2010s onwards: enactment into national laws[edit]

While Cannabis Social Clubs have long been informally organized, and subject to legal uncertainty, this situation started to change in the mid-2010s, with the first enactment of the Cannabis Social Club model into laws.


In 2014, Uruguay adopted a law legalizing non-medical cannabis use and production under different dispositions, one of them allowing up to 45 citizens to create a not-for-profit organization to cultivate up to 99 plants and share the harvest among themselves. In the Uruguayan Law, Article 28[28] establishes:

"The Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis shall have the following powers: [...] D) Authorize cannabis membership clubs pursuant to the legal provisions in force and related regulations."[28]

Further disposition establish that "Membership clubs shall have a minimum of fifteen and a maximum of forty-five members. They may grow up to ninety-nine cannabis plants of psychoactive use and obtain as product of the crop a maximum annual storage proportional to the number of members and in accordance with the quantities specified for the non-medicinal use of psychoactive cannabis."


In December 2021, the Parliament of Malta adopted Bill No. 241[29][30] which creates the "Authority on the Responsible Use of Cannabis" and, in its Article 7A, authorizes Cannabis Social Clubs:

"it shall be permissible to establish, and an individual may be a member of, an organisation the membership of which shall consist only of individuals in their personal capacity and acting only in their own name the only purpose of which being the cultivation of the plant cannabis exclusively for its members in a collective manner to distribute it only to those members."[29]

CSCs in Malta would be able to provide their members with up to 7 grammes (¼ oz) per day, with a maximum of 50 grammes (1¾ oz) per month.[31]


Although not legally-regulated as such, an experimental protocol allowing to develop Cannabis Clubs managed by universities, local authorities, research institutes, associations or foundations.[32] Pilot trials can be set up between 2021 and 2031, as enacted by Switzerland in 2021.[33] In early 2022, pilot trials with different modalities were approved in the cities of Basel, Lausanne and Zurich.[34][35][36]

Cannabis Social Clubs throughout the world[edit]

  • Cannabis clubs regulated by Law
    • Malta, which adopted in December 2021 a law regulating Cannabis Social Clubs.[29]
    • Switzerland: In 2016 four Swiss cities agreed to establish pilot cannabis clubs.[37] The pilot trial started in 2022 and could run until May 2031.[33]
    • Uruguay, which adopted in 2014 a law regulating Cannabis Social Clubs up to 45 members.[28]
  • Cannabis clubs operating in legal grey areas
    • Austria,[38]
    • Belgium,[39]
    • Germany,[40] according to the plan from April 2023, users will be able to purchase up to 25 grams (⅞ oz) of cannabis each day, but no more than 50 grams (1¾ oz) in a single month. The legal limit of members in Germany will be 500.[41]
    • the Netherlands,[42]
    • New Zealand,
    • Slovenia,[43]
    • South Africa, where CSCs unfold under the name of Dagga Private Clubs.[44]
    • Spain:[45] as of 2019, the concentration of cannabis social clubs in Spain was located in Catalonia with more than 200 cannabis clubs in the area of Barcelona alone.[46]
    • United States:
      • Colorado's Amendment 64 allowed the creation of Cannabis consumption clubs, although the sale or dispensation of cannabis products is not permitted onsite. Consumption regulations varies by county: many have adopted some sort of regulation allowing cannabis consumption clubs to operate throughout the State (iBAKE Denver,[47] the Speakeasy Vape Lounge,[48] etc.).
      • Oregon allows Cannabis Social Clubs under Measure 91, with some clubs operating (World Famous Cannabis Cafe,[49] NW Cannabis Club, etc.).
      • Nevada's 2017 Senate Bill 236[50] allows businesses to apply for so-called "Cannabis Social Club" licences, although different from the defining characteristics of Cannabis Social Clubs (the non-profit model).
      • Conversely, the District of Columbia passed regulation in 2016 banning Cannabis Consumption Clubs.[51]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, 05.31.2016, Models for the legal supply of cannabis: recent developments - "Cannabis social clubs: production without retail sale"
  2. ^ a b Ghehiouèche, Farid; Riboulet-Zemouli, Kenzi; Beauchesne, Line; Marks, Amber; Bertrand, Olivier; Parés Franquero, Òscar; Del Valle, Joseba; Rainsford, Richard; Krawitz, Michael (2016). Cannabis Social Club: Policy for the XXIst century. A social, ethic, human-scale and health-based model addressing the misuse, abuse and potential damages due to cannabis use while countering the unregulated growth of cannabis supply (PDF) (Contribution to UNGASS 2016 – United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem ed.). Vienna: FAAAT.
  3. ^ Belackova, Vendula; Tomkova, Alexandra; Zabransky, Tomas (2016). "Qualitative research in Spanish cannabis social clubs: "The moment you enter the door, you are minimising the risks"". The International Journal on Drug Policy. 34: 49–57. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2016.04.009. ISSN 1873-4758. PMID 27461986.
  4. ^ Decorte, Tom; Pardal, Mafalda; Queirolo, Rosario; Boidi, Maria Fernanda; Sánchez Avilés, Constanza; Parés Franquero, Òscar (2017-05-01). "Regulating Cannabis Social Clubs: A comparative analysis of legal and self-regulatory practices in Spain, Belgium and Uruguay". International Journal of Drug Policy. 43: 44–56. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2016.12.020. hdl:1854/LU-8509050. ISSN 0955-3959. PMID 28189980. S2CID 3934108.
  5. ^ Pardal, Mafalda; Decorte, Tom (October 2018). "Cannabis Use and Supply Patterns Among Belgian Cannabis Social Club Members". Journal of Drug Issues. 48 (4): 689–709. doi:10.1177/0022042618791295. ISSN 0022-0426. S2CID 59295008.
  6. ^ Pardal, Mafalda (2018-06-01). ""The difference is in the tomato at the end": Understanding the motivations and practices of cannabis growers operating within Belgian Cannabis Social Clubs". International Journal of Drug Policy. 56: 21–29. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2018.02.016. ISSN 0955-3959. PMID 29539581. S2CID 3915415.
  7. ^ Belackova, Vendula; Wilkins, Chris (2018-04-01). "Consumer agency in cannabis supply – Exploring auto-regulatory documents of the cannabis social clubs in Spain". International Journal of Drug Policy. 54: 26–34. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.12.018. ISSN 0955-3959. PMID 29367012.
  8. ^ Jansseune, Laurent; Pardal, Mafalda; Decorte, Tom; Parés Franquero, Òscar (2019). "Revisiting the Birthplace of the Cannabis Social Club Model and the Role Played by Cannabis Social Club Federations". Journal of Drug Issues. 49 (2): 338–354. doi:10.1177/0022042618815690. ISSN 0022-0426. S2CID 81294133.
  9. ^ Parés-Franquero, Òscar; Jubert-Cortiella, Xavier; Olivares-Gálvez, Sergi; Díaz-Castellano, Albert; Jiménez-Garrido, Daniel F.; Bouso, José Carlos (2019). "Use and Habits of the Protagonists of the Story: Cannabis Social Clubs in Barcelona". Journal of Drug Issues. 49 (4): 607–624. doi:10.1177/0022042619852780. ISSN 0022-0426. S2CID 196548453.
  10. ^ Queirolo, Rosario; Boidi, Maria Fernanda; Cruz, José Miguel (2016-08-01). "Cannabis clubs in Uruguay: The challenges of regulation". International Journal of Drug Policy. 34: 41–48. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2016.05.015. ISSN 0955-3959. PMID 27475713.
  11. ^ Belackova, Vendula (2020). ""The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Weed": How Consumers in Four Different Policy Settings Define the Quality of Illicit Cannabis". Contemporary Drug Problems. 47 (1): 43–62. doi:10.1177/0091450919897658. ISSN 0091-4509. S2CID 213309158.
  12. ^ Decorte, Tom; Pardal, Mafalda (2020), "Insights for the design of Cannabis Social Club regulation", Legalizing Cannabis, pp. 409–426, doi:10.4324/9780429427794-24, ISBN 9780429427794, S2CID 213711695, retrieved 2022-07-03
  13. ^ Pardal, Mafalda; Decorte, Tom; Bone, Melissa; Parés, Òscar; Johansson, Julia (2020-07-18). "Mapping Cannabis Social Clubs in Europe". European Journal of Criminology. 19 (5): 1016–1039. doi:10.1177/1477370820941392. ISSN 1477-3708. S2CID 225626208.
  14. ^ a b "Innovation Born of Necessity: Pioneering Drug Policy in Catalonia". Retrieved 2022-07-03.
  15. ^ Martínez Oró, David Pere (2018-09-18). "Las oportunidades económicas de la legalización del cannabis". Revista Cáñamo (in European Spanish). Retrieved 2022-07-03.
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  40. ^ Hanf Journal: Die Eastside Growers: Handeln, nicht quatschen, 1.3.2011
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