Outlook hazy for Spanish cannabis club
A Spanish club that lets members light up marijuana joints has opened in Madrid, but its future is already cast in a haze by strict anti-smoking laws due next year.
The Private Cannabis Club opened last month within a Madrid bar and restaurant and is run by an association that argues it is within the bounds of a law that allows consumption of cannabis if it is in private.
"We do not allow the public in. It is a private association so we only allow in members," Alicia Mendez, spokeswoman for the club near the airport in Madrid's northeast, said Tuesday.
"We do not sell drugs or promote the consumption of drugs. We are simply a place where people with a shared purpose meet."
Personal consumption of cannabis in private was quite legal, however, Mendez said, and members were allowed to do so inside the private club, which had been registered as an assocation.
"The consumption of cannabis is not only recreational but also therapeutic," she added.
The cloud on the horizon is a strict new anti-tobacco law coming into force January 2 next year.
The new law bans smoking from all enclosed public spaces and spaces of common usage. It even outlaws smoking in some open spaces such as children's parks and near hospitals.
"We are studying the new anti-tobacco law," Mendez said.
"In principle we should not be affected because we are a private place, that it is to say we should be treated almost like a private home. But we are studying it to see what measures we would need to comply with."
© 2010 AFP