Traveling in Barcelona as a Curious Cannabis Consumer

Traveling in Barcelona as a Curious Cannabis Consumer

As cannabis professionals, whenever we travel, we always try to learn about the cannabis scene in different parts of the world. But staying up to date on international laws can be tricky. Recently, I travelled to Barcelona, Spain with my wife and her sister. “A shopping trip,” they called it. But I was shopping for weed. In a foreign country. Without speaking the native language.

While walking in the Gothic District, we found a store that sold familiar cannabis accessories like Pax and Raw, along with some CBD only type lotions and oils. It seemed just like a headshop, but with less hookahs and bowls, and more high-tech gadgets, vapes, and homeopathic potions. Intrigued, I asked the shopkeeper (in my worst high school Spanish) where I could purchase legal cannabis.

In Barcelona, cannabis is legal, he explained, but you can only consume at home or a private club. (Perfect — we’d rented a condo for the duration of our stay.) He gave me directions to a private club nearby. But to be let in, I would need his referral. He handed me a slip of paper. It was about the size of the slip you’d get from a fortune cookie. He told me I’d need to present it after ringing the buzzer.

I wondered how sketchy I looked, scoping out this club with my fortune-cookie paper in hand. When I pressed the buzzer, a window opened. I handed over my referral. Then I had to hand over 15 euros. That made me a “member.”

The club looked like a hybrid of a neighborhood bar and an old school pizza pub, complete with booths and barstools. The front bar provides “sober snacks,” like sodas, energy drinks, chips and candies. If you need to nibble, they’ve got you covered. Wine is available, too. Need to get some work done? The club has WiFi. The bathrooms are surprisingly clean and well-appointed. A separate bar sells weed.

After getting my bearings, I headed across the room, towards the other bar — the cannabis bar. Being accustomed to US dispensaries, I was surprised to find a limited selection. They had a few types of indica strains, and a few sativas. I saw no oils, no vapes. Just good old fashioned bud. It was glorious.  Pre-rolled joints were large, and cheap — just one euro each. For nine euros, I got a couple buds, about a gram or so. They had communal papers — even bowls and bongs you could use. Some guy noticed I didn’t have a lighter, so he gave me his extra. I bought a muffin and split it with him.

Suddenly, it all felt so familiar. It was the neighborhood pub. It was the local watering hole. I didn’t feel like a criminal, or even necessarily like a stoner. Just a guy, taking a break, in Barcelona.