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I go into the store and ask for marijuana. Directly, because there is a sign on the door that announces it. As if we were in a coffe-shop in Amsterdam or a dispensary in California. The clerk advises me.
– Hello, what can I give you?
– I want to buy hashish. What do you have there?
– From hashish I have this variety called Super Polm. It is a fairly dark brown pressed pollen. It comes one gram in a glass jar. It costs 5 euros.
– I don’t know that variety. They spoke very highly of one called Gorilla Glue …
– The Gorilla Glue We have it, but not in hashish. I have a dry flower. In bud, to understand each other. It is more expensive, it costs 15 euros. But you get two grams. It costs 7.5 euros each.
– And that other red jar that Gelato says?
– The Gelato is another variety of marijuana, but we have this in a different format called terpsolate. It is neither hashish nor bud. It is a type of extraction; a kind of wax that can be vaporized and smoked in a pipe. It looks like limestone. It is the most expensive of the three: it takes 1 gram and costs 15 euros.
– Okay, I’m taking all three to test them. But can you sell this to me without problem?
– Yes of course. This marijuana does not place. Neither hashish nor terpsolate. THC has been taken away, which is what goes up. It’s like when they do decaffeinated coffee. They have modified it so that it does not have caffeine. This is the same, but removing the substance it places.
– What is it for then?
– It has many indications medicinal. It also relaxes, which is what almost everyone takes it for.
– But is this legal?
The CBD revolution
Tobacco has always been sold in a tobacconist, but something is changing in Spain. Now in some (like the one in Terrassa where he goes THE SPANISH for this report) sell marijuana buds, hashish and other cannabis derivatives. The products are displayed in the central area of the glass counter, in a clearly visible place.
Marijuana has reached the tobacconists almost by surprise. Has been after confinement when its sale in herbal stores, paraphernalia stores, and grow shops has begun to generalize. Many of these establishments have begun to sell this type of product because they have a growing demand for its natural anxiolytic facet.
The key is that the product that these stores offer does not have psychoactive effects. Does not place. Does not have THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the psychoactive principle in cannabis. These products have been modified to contain only CBD, which is another of the components of cannabis.
The fashionable CBD is the acronym for cannabidiol. One of the 133 cannabinoids in marijuana. A substance that is not psychoactive, but passes for being a muscle relaxant and natural antioconvulsive. It is indicated, as revealed more and more medical studies, for chronic pain treatments or to combat the side effects of aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy. More and more doctors are recommending CBD in combination with other medications.
Is it legal?
Bottom line: CBD is non-high and has medical applications. So… Is its sale legal in tobacconists? Not really. There are tobacconists that have been selling it for a few months, but on paper they shouldn’t. That question was already formulated by the Union of Tobacconists to the Commissioner for the Tobacco Market (CMT) when the proliferation of the sale of marijuana and derivatives in this type of establishments began. And the CMT, which is the council that regulates what they can sell or not, was resounding:
“The CMT informs all the associations and retailers that the commercialization of these products (…) does not count with the authorization, approval or acceptance of the commissioner. “
Although they do not have the approval of the CMT, more and more tobacconists are joining the trend of selling marijuana. Is there no one to regulate tobacconists? EL ESPAÑOL has been in contact with the Union of Estanqueros. His spokesmen have not made any statements, beyond acknowledging that it is “a very sensitive issue.” They made a statement about it and soon removed it from their website because it generated confusion. They refer any query to the Tobacco Commissioner. Because they know that the sale of CBD is a growing practice, but that it is at the limit of the law.
Not only is it not legal, but there have already been some police seizures of cannabis in these types of businesses. It happened last September. The Oviedo Local Police he intervened in a tobacconist when the agents found that “what apparently were buds in envelopes and sealed” were exhibited at the counter of the establishment. After requisitioning them, they were taken for analysis.
Depending on the result of these tests, the tobacconist may be penalized in one way or another. If the marijuana intervened has THC, they face up to 3 years in prison and the complaint will be processed criminally. If, on the other hand, it has a percentage less than 0.2% (which is the maximum limit allowed), the punishment will be an administrative fine of 3,000 euros.
Both cases carry punishment, because, although more and more tobacconists are selling marijuana, it is not legal in any case. Is found in a limbo in which nobody wins: the trade is played a penalty. The customer does not have product information from any Regulatory Council. The product does not have a standardized quality or sanitary control. The public coffers do not receive the same percentage of taxes for this marijuana as for tobacco or alcohol. With this model, all parties lose out.
The store clerk advises me as best she can, but what I read on the product label is a very different movie. In no case does he speak of the medicinal indications of CBD. There are no instructions for use, because these products are sold “not to be used”. At the base of the pot of the marijuana bud there is a sticker in which it clearly specifies: “Aromatic ornamental natural flower for decorative or collecting use. Its ingestion and inhalation, therapeutic, medical or pharmaceutical use is prohibited. “That is to say: it not only misinforms us about what we are buying, it also prohibits us from consuming it.
It is the same legal trap that is used with marijuana seeds, which have the category of “collector’s item”. Or the one that was used with a series of synthetic drugs that became popular in Spain at the beginning of this decade and that were sold in grow shops as “bath salts”, when in fact they were substitutes for drugs like cocaine or amphetamine.
In the case of the current sale of CBD, the danger involved is much less. Because CBD has no known harmful or side effects (beyond the fact that it can cause dry mouth or drowsiness). But the legal vacuum in which these types of substances are found ‘half audited’ It is the door to which products destined for human consumption that are not passing any type of control are being sold.
The producer, in this case, is a company in Barcelona called The CBD Side and it is based in Barceloneta. They detail on the label of their bottles that it is a “non-psychoactive or narcotic natural product”, but they conclude that “the company is not responsible of any use to the laws or these indications. “That is, they sell it for what it is, marijuana for human consumption. But they wash their hands if someone uses it.
In that limbo lives Spain, the country that grows the most cannabis in all of Europe. That it could be a powerhouse in the sector and make hemp one of its leading industries. But all the legalization proposals that are debated end up overthrown. Meanwhile, legal ins and outs they lead to deception and allegiances being the keynote. As an example, our question to the tobacconist who sells us cannabis:
– Can something happen to me if the police catch me with this on the street?
– It shouldn’t, if you carry the purchase ticket and the bottle is closed. If the seal were broken, they could still requisition it, but they would have to take it to analyze and they would see that it has no THC. Analyzing these things is expensive and for a bud they don’t usually go that far. No fine would come to you.
What the clerk explains is that, with the closed boat and the ticket, there is no danger of sanction. This could lead to putting marijuana with THC inside the jar, but wielding the proof of purchase of the CBD to escape the fine. When opening the jars we verify that it is not difficult to remove the lid without breaking the seal. Cheating instead of law.
Associations such as the Spanish Observatory of Medicinal Cannabis fight against this grotesque situation, from where they clamor for a solution that allows “chronic Spanish patients to legally dispose of CBD. There is a comparative grievance with other countries of the European Union such as Germany , where it is already regulated. Patients there can be treated with CBD and the Spaniards are sent to the narco. And while, the tobacconists selling cannabis that has not passed any sanitary control and that counts on the label as an ornament whose consumption is prohibited, “says its president Carola Pérez.
Lawyers like Bernardo Soriano, from the S&F Law Firm, also fight against it. He is also a spokesperson for Responsible Regulation and he has many cases related to medical cannabis. Bernardo’s cabinet contacted the Spanish Medicines Agency directly to inquire about the sale of cannabis in tobacconists. The answer was also clear: cannabis is only authorized for scientific research.
“This is the situation in which Spain is immersed due to the lack of current and consistent legislation, these cases are overwhelming. The laws are old, cannabis it is illegal in our country since 1967; the fine was still counted in pesetas, half a million. What is legal in Spain is the stem and roots for industrial use. But the flower is not legal even if it does not have THC. ”
It’s the bottom line: some tobacconists sell marijuana in Spain, but they shouldn’t, because it’s not legal. They face penalties for selling a substance that is not actually psychoactive and that may have medicinal uses. The producer sells it for consumption, but prohibits consumption on the label. The end user is unprotected. Without current legislation to regulate this situation, this niche is now a mixed bag in our country.
Meanwhile, more and more people are riding the cannabis wave in general and the CBD wave in particular. Next November 15 is World Medical Cannabis Day. In countries and states like Canadá, California, Colorado or Uruguay, Marijuana is totally decriminalized, both for medical and recreational use, bringing huge benefits to the public coffers. The large global beverage companies are already working on CBD projects, which will open a new segment of relaxing drinks, as already exists with that of caffeinated or energy drinks. Here in Spain, on the other hand, we continue in our limbo, behind the back of a law that still fines in pesetas.
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