What Role Will Cannabis Social Clubs Play In European Recreational Reform?
The continued popularity of this kind of gathering point has spread far from Spain and is now increasingly looked to as a model for recreational trials in places like Switzerland and South Africa
There is one thing that Spain, if not the early caregiving days in places like the US and Canada has given the cannabis reform discussion that is enduring as it is international. Namely the idea of a “social club” as a meeting point for cannabis consumers as well as a non-profit point of distribution.
Indeed, the Spanish concept, which has gathered in steam since the beginning of the last decade, has spread to places like South Africa where the concept is increasingly important for all the same reasons.
Even more interestingly, as the battle for full and final recreational reform begins to be spoken of with a bit more seriousness in Europe, the Swiss have just announced that they intend to use this model too, starting next year.
Indeed, beyond the also enduring “coffee shop” pioneered by the Dutch, the social club construct may indeed be the turning point for real reform across at least Europe.
Here are a few reasons why:
- There is an established procedure for operations that has been set out by organizations like ENCOD.
- The infrastructure is easy to monitor if not monetize to at least self-sufficiency. Most of such clubs are indeed “non-profit” and serve both patients and recreational users alike with no differentiation. As frustrating as this might be for those with a pharma background, the reality is that at this juncture, there are just too many conditions that cannabis can treat which doctors are still leery of approving (everywhere). Further, the borderline recreational/medical discussion is almost always in the room. During the Pandemic, for example, even legal stores in places like Germany have noted a massive uptick in sales of just CBD (for anxiety if nothing else).
- The operating infrastructure is a good way to begin to bridge the gaps between highly regulated pharmacy and head or cannabis shop. Such clubs are usually non-profit, but also help create a seed to sale infrastructure that can be monitored, regulated, and even certified at standards that can reach a national level (see EU-BIO).
As the cannabis conversation rolls on in Europe, if not the rest of the world, expect to see such models tweaked, adapted, and integrated into local models, and far from just Spain.
Be sure to stay tuned to updates and news from the International Cannabis Business Conference.