Cannabis Social Club
A Cannabis Social Club, CSC for short, is an initiative in which cannabis consumers and producers organize and grow together. Among other things, it protects rights and has set itself the goal of responsible use of cannabis. Therefore, it is a statutory association and is accountable to local and national authorities.
In 2009, Dominique Broc founded the first Cannabis Social Club in France. To this day, this model of the CSC is widespread throughout Europe. The initiative refers to the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that European citizens are allowed to unite for those interests if this does not threaten public order or the health of society as a whole. In the USA, there are widespread so-called Cannabis Buyers Clubs; however, in contrast to cannabis social clubs, these are limited exclusively to the medical use of cannabis.
A CSC considers it essential to provide its members with quality cannabis-derived products. This aim is to ensure quality for the consumer and largely exclude the black market. But not only is the quality of great importance: since Cannabis Social Clubs have no intention of making a profit, only low costs are incurred for production and cannabis distribution.
Members (adult citizens) make up these clubs who organize cannabis cultivation in limited numbers for their use. This way, one can create a closed circuit between producers and consumers. One must observe particular safety, transparency, health, and accountability criteria.
The vast majority of CSC members are people suffering from a specific disease (e.g., Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, asthma) or pain for which the use of cannabis is helpful or pain-relieving, they say. Some professional growers can partially cover the need for cannabis in some clubs.
Code of Conduct
Cannabis Social Clubs exist not only in German-speaking countries but also in several European countries. Therefore, there are differences in terms of political, legal, and cultural norms; the specific form and form of this initiative, therefore, depends on the country in which it is active. However, all CSCs live by certain fundamental principles; certain attitudes distinguish these clubs from other establishments.
As already mentioned, the clubs organize themselves as registered non-profit associations and have a strict code of conduct. Among other things, only enough cannabis is grown to cover the annual needs of the club members. Organic farming is a cultivation principle. Other basic principles are full transparency, democracy, and non-profit making. For example, controlled allocation and recording can ensure that cannabis is not handed over to third parties.
The basic principles of the code of conduct are as follows:
- Production takes place exclusively for personal member consumption
- Health orientation: according to the standards of organic farming
- No commercial profit targets
- Complete transparency for members and to the outside world
- Dialogue with authorities & Club Encod as an intermediary
1) A Cannabis Social Club produces cannabis exclusively for the personal consumption of the club members. The production capacity or supply of cannabis depends on the expected needs of the members and not vice versa.
2) One observes the standards of organic farming; therefore, the cultivation methods must meet relevant organic guidelines. The entire production, i.e., cultivation, post-harvest treatment, etc., is health-oriented.
3) All clubs are non-profit associations; they, therefore, do not pursue any economic profit goals, so they are not run to make a profit.
4) There is complete transparency for the members. Democracy and participation organize the internal organization. The decision-making body is an annual general assembly (each member has one vote).
In addition, CSCs maintain documentation so that members, other CSCs, and authorities have an accessible form. This documentary includes an (anonymized) membership register with cannabis consumption, an (anonymized) production register, and a financial statement of accounts.
5) The clubs connect with the authorities and conduct an open and active dialogue with them.
The following European countries represent this initiative: Belgium, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, and the Netherlands. Furthermore still, in other countries, which exist anonymously due to the threat of criminal prosecution.
There are now hundreds of Cannabis Social Clubs in Spain; three hundred are in the greater Barcelona area. The nickname “Amsterdam with sunshine” does not come from anywhere. The legal situation in Spain favors the implementation of the CSC model. Although the cannabis trade is illegal, permission for its cultivation and consumption exists.
The first club in the German-speaking area appeared in Salzburg in 2014. In Austria, there are now several Cannabis Social Clubs; the Legal Europe Association organizes them. Legal Europa is the umbrella organization for all cannabis social clubs in Austria; this guarantees a regulated process and vital networking with patients, doctors, activists, hemp associations, clubs, and institutions.