Spain’s New Vice President Pablo Iglesias is a Proponent of Marijuana Legalization

In Spain marijuana is technically illegal. It has been defacto decriminalised, and there are a number of cannabis associations in the country. One has to become a member of the cannabis association and it cannot be advertised. Marijuana cannot be grown in an area seen to the public and it while it is legal to consume in one’s home, it’s technically illegal to use outside.The laws concerning marijuana and enforcement can vary from region to region. Catalonia has the most progressive regulations concerning recreational and medical usage. There are numerous cannabis associations, as well as medical marijuana associations there. One has to be a member of an organisation to purchase marijuana or hash. One is allowed to only purchase a certain amount daily and the organisations are not allowed to advertise. They have not yet developed edibles or other products as the associations merely have members who grow the cannabis. But there is no research into new consumer cannabis products as it is not quite legal. All of this is likely to change in 2020.

One year ago the political party Podemos proposed full legalisation in Spain. Podemos is a leftist political party in Spain, and when they first proposed legalizsation they were not a part of the ruling coalition. The center right party Ciudadanos proposed legalising marijuana in April of 2019, but Spain had not formed a coalition government at that point. But in the election of the 10th of November, 2019, Podemos and PSOE (the socialist party that President Pedro Sanchez is a member of) made a pact. Podemos is now a part of the ruling coalition, and the leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias will be the Vice President. He is an active proponent of legalisation of cannabis. This puts a proponent of cannabis legalisation in the second most powerful position in Spain. This is significant not just for Spain, but as Spain is a major European nation, it’s significant for the European Union. Two Western nations have already passed complete legalisation of cannabis. Those two are Canada and Uruguay.

Not only will full legalisation allow more research to be done on developing new cannabis products for medical and recreation use, it would allow more tourism revenues to come to Spain. Spain is already the number two country in the world as far as tourism visits go (France is number one) and Barcelona is touted as a warm weather version of Amsterdam already (lots of cannabis clubs). More visitors will come to Barcelona and Spain in general , which would supply not only more tax revenue tourism revenues could be reinvested in other areas of the economy. Legalisation would bring in an estimated 3 to 6 billion euros of taxes to the government. This is important as Spain really only recently recovered from the economic crisis, and that has lead to something of a political crisis in how to deal with socioeconomic issues. Only recently has infrastructure spending recovered.

Cannabis legalisation will also used to lower the comparatively high levels of unemployment among Spanish youth. When marijuana is legal, one can officially work in the farming, distribution, and sales of it. One cannot currently work on the books in most cannabis related jobs, but as this changes with legalisation a number of youth will be able to pay taxes on money earned from cannabis. Jobs would grow not only in physical production and sales, but in marketing, research, product/medical development, etc. Ciudadanos proposes that the one be able to use their sanitary card to get medical marijuana products from the local pharmacy. This would make medical marijuana very cheap for those who need it to treat chronic conditions or who otherwise have a prescription from their doctors.

Legalisation in the Spanish context will be an important way to develop the economy. Industrial hemp is widely grown in Catalonia, Valencia, Alicante, Castellon, and Andalucia. Various food products, paper, clothes, cosmetic products, and industrial products are made. Spain has very pleasant weather as a Mediterranean nation, and complete legalisation of cannabis will allow hemp farming to flourish as hemp plants are merely low THC varieties of cannabis.  The research for this article was made possible by Candid Chronicle.