Modern Marvel in the Mediterranean

Spain is a paradox when it comes to the cannabis industry, but it seems nothing can stop Barcelona from becoming Europe’s new cannabis capital. It’s true. Barcelona has pretty much eclipsed Amsterdam when it comes to the continent’s best of the best in cannabis travel. Why?

While Amsterdam is the historic ground central for cannabis in Europe, Barcelona has emerged as the new “it” spot for cannabis enthusiasts and those enriched by the cannabiz. You see, Amsterdam is sleepy (and cold) and is now seen in jet set circles as more like a pilgrimage or a cannabis lover’s rite of passage. Barcelona, on the other hand, is lit.

And this comes just two years after Spain’s Supreme Court came down with a ruling that almost put Barcelona’s exploding cannabis culture in the deep black market freeze. Since Spain’s highest court basically pronounced humungous cannabis clubs outlawed, the trends towards small clubs have meant an expansion from about 100 in 2015 to, some say, more than 800 today.

What this means for travelers is complicated. The clubs get around the “ban” by cultivating plants on private property for consumption by just 100 or so “members” who all supposedly help in the growing. Whatever happens, your chance of getting your hands on some premium bud in Barcelona is high.

Plus, experiencing Barcelona in early spring is just a delight in and of itself. This intensely gorgeous and highly urban city-by-the-sea comes alive with fresh foods, scented flowers, spring fashions, endless cultural activities and Spain’s biggest cannabis expo, Spannabis (this 13th edition will be held from March 10-12 at Barcelona’s Fira de Cornellá exposition center).

Fun-Filled Facts

-During Spannabis from March. 10-12, Barcelona’s State Network of Anti-Prohibitionist Women (REMA) organization is sponsoring a women’s “gathering” as a precursor to World Cannabis Conferences III. REMA’s goal is to stop the stigmatization of female cannabis patients and to found a platform for women professionals and activists in the cannabiz.

-Although celebrated more in Valencia and Madrid, St. Joseph’s Day or Spain’s Father’s Day is feted as a local holiday traditionally on March 19 (but lands on March 20 in 2017). This holy day honors the husband of The Virgin Mary with ceremonies, festivals, fireworks, papier-maché nativity scenes and native dress along with gifts and displays of affection to fathers of all kinds.

If You Go

To get around the illegal-yet-legal status of cannabis in Spain, savvy travelers sign up for a cannabis tour or connect in advance with a local who is an avid cannabis club member. Before flying off, they invite their newfound Spanish friends for a round or three of tapas or a delicious dinner followed by dancing while in town. It won’t be long until the new friend or a friend of a friend kicks down some of their private club-grown stash. Some clubs allow their members to invite respectable guests. Those who can’t wait for all the polite posturing, however, can stand next to a known-to-be-cool cannabis collective entrance. Dress your best and chat it up with an entering member. Perhaps you will be lucky enough to get that welcoming nod without the annoying legal risks of enjoying communal cannabis medicating in other European cities.

Time to Go: March

Weather: Mid-50s with light rainfall

Budget: $$$

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