There are many aspects that differentiate cannabis clubs from coffeeshops. In Spain, there are cannabis clubs whereas in Holland there are coffeeshops. Even though both terms are used in Spain when referring to cannabis clubs, in Spain there are no coffeeshops. In order to get the most of your experience, we are going to explain in detail what sets apart cannabis clubs from coffeeshops.

Who can enter Cannabis Clubs vs Coffeeshops

Coffeeshops are stores, while cannabis clubs are non-profit organizations, also known as private social clubs or associations. Any legal adult (18+) can access a coffeeshop in Holland; however, in Spain, only members can access a cannabis club. In order to become a member of a cannabis club you must contact them (website or social media) to request an invitation. You can also be invited by an existing member.

A legal adult can ‘purchase’ cannabis at a coffeeshop in Holland. However, in Spain, it’s illegal to use financial words in connection with cannabis. So, members of a cannabis club can ‘acquire’, ‘get’ or ‘pick up’ cannabis from the dispensary of the club. In Spain, any financial word in connection with cannabis is considered drug trafficking, which is a crime.

Cannabis on the Street in Spain vs Holland

The possession of cannabis on the street in Holland is legal in contrary to Spain where it’s illegal. It’s not a crime, it’s just a ‘fault’, same as drinking alcohol or peeing on the street. It’s penalized with a fine of around €500. So, in Spain everyone carries their cannabis in their underwear. Police is not allowed to strip you naked on the street nor put their hands in your underwear.

The police in Spain can only convince you to take out the cannabis from your underwear and they are very good at it. To persuade you, they tell you they would take you to the police station. They also tell you that if you don’t give it to them, it’s going to be worse. Police should only take criminal suspects to the police station. Since possession of cannabis on the street in not a crime, it’s not feasible for them to do so. So, be patient and respectful. Let them do their job.

What’s Better: Cannabis Club vs Coffeeshop

Cannabis clubs are far better than coffeeshops. The average price of marijuana in a cannabis club in Spain is €10 (€7 – €25) per gram while in a coffeshop in Holland is €20 (€5 – €45). The price of edibles is pretty much the same in cannabis clubs as in coffeeshops, but some cannabis clubs don’t offer edibles.

Morocco is the largest producer of hashish in the world, and because of its geographic location, Spain is the largest consumer and distributor of hashish worldwide. So, the average price of hashish in a cannabis club in Spain is €7 while in Barcelona €9 (€6 – €20). On the other hand, the average price of hashish in coffeeshops in Holland is €13, while in Amsterdam €17 (€5 – €35).

In general, cannabis clubs in Spain are more comfortable and well ventilated than coffeeshops in Holland. Cannabis clubs are non-profit organizations, so they don’t pay taxes, leaving spare money to make their members feel at home. Coffeeshops in Holland pay a heavy tax so thus hindering the investments in making the place as comfortable. Ventilation is normally deficient too. 

Cannabis clubs in Spain are way more fun. They have video game rooms, pool tables and other toys to play with. Many cannabis clubs organize social events regularly such movie days, art expositions, workshops and parties with DJs and live music. Coffeeshops in Holland don’t organize events except for special occasions once or twice per year.

Dispensaries in Cannabis Clubs vs Coffeeshops

The quality of marijuana in cannabis clubs in Spain is better than in Holland. The marijuana in cannabis clubs in Barcelona is almost twice as good as the best marijuana in coffeeshops in Amsterdam due to the rapid development of the industry and the proximity to sources. The only thing that’s clearly better in Amsterdam is the coffeeshop menu. They offer more variety and award winning marijuana strains.

Regulation of Cannabis Clubs vs Coffeeshops

Coffeeshops in Holland are regulated, but cannabis clubs in Spain are not. Coffeeshops can operate within a legal framework which guarantees their protection. However, cannabis clubs in Spain exploit a legal vacuum which doesn’t offer any guarantees of security to the club and their staff. The line from being a legal worker of a cannabis club to being considered a criminal in Spain is very thin.

This factor allows coffeeshops in Holland to keep a nice inventory with a wide selection of products for the dispensary. On the other hand, inventories in cannabis clubs in Spain are normally limited forcing clubs to change their menu on a daily basis. Cannabis clubs shouldn’t have more than 500 grs of marijuana and no hashish, nor edibles. Nevertheless, almost every cannabis club offers everything you can find in a coffeeshop in Holland.

Tourism in Cannabis Clubs vs Coffeeshops

Well-behaved tourists are normally welcomed and appreciated in cannabis clubs in Spain. If you request an invitation on their website or their Facebook/Instagram page, it will save you a great deal of trouble. On the other hand, if you show up uninvited, with more than 3 friends, speaking loud in a foreign language, exchanging money in front of the place, you are guaranteed to be rejected.

Cannabis tourism in Spain in not regulated nor forbidden, but the authorities don’t like it at all. According to the law, anyone over the age of 18, tourist or not, can consume cannabis in Spain. However, it’s very common for cannabis clubs to request proof of residency in Spain; but it’s not a requirement.

Legally speaking, cannabis clubs in Spain consist of a ‘closed group of people’ who claim the legal right to acquire and consume cannabis without causing an impact on society. However, Spanish law has not set the maximum number of new members per month a cannabis club can make in order to qualify as a ‘closed group of people’; This is left to the interpretation of a judge in a court of law.

Cannabis tourism in Holland is legal although the Dutch government has failed to regulate it in many occasions by putting restrictions. Every failed attempt has reactivated the black market causing chaos in cities like Amsterdam. Therefore, the coffeeshops in Holland remain open for cannabis tourism, same as for locals. Any legal adult over the age of 18 can access a coffeeshop regardless of their nationality or residency.

Minimum Age in Cannabis Clubs vs Coffeeshops

The minimum age for cannabis clubs in Spain is 18 or 21 depending on the club. Scientific studies show that the brain is not fully developed till the mid-20s, so many clubs only accept members over the age of 21. When contacting a cannabis club in Spain, always include your age.

Cannabis clubs that register members over 21 years of age are easier to defend in a court of law. Legally speaking, cannabis clubs are meant to ‘care about the health of their members’. Therefore, judges are tougher to clubs who register members over the age 18, because of the potential damaged cannabis can cause on developing brains of teenagers.

The minimum age for coffeeshops in Holland is 18. However, some clubs set the minimum age ranging from 19 to 21. Some coffeeshops prefer an older crowd. It’s a matter of exclusivity and market segmentation.

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