Since the 16th of February, the Spanish government is involved in a process to try to legalize therapeutic marijuana. Although various political parties are making proposals to legalize recreational cannabis for adults, for the moment it seems that medical cannabis is the only one that stands a chance. Therefore, how many marijuana plants can you grow at home for personal use?. It is still unclear because, technically, it isn’t legal yet.
Legal cannabis situation in Spain
In Spain, drug consumption in the street is completely illegal, and the same goes for drug dealing. Up to this day, cannabis is technically a drug, except for hemp. This is because hemp doesn’t have the psychotropic ingredient that marijuana has. However, it does contain CBD, known for its relaxing and therapeutic effects, which the WHO admits as a substance with health benefits. Although some of these benefits aren’t scientifically confirmed, there is some evidence regarding its anti-inflammatory properties.
The Spanish Penal Code regarding marijuana
The Spanish Penal Code punishes in article 368 the cultivation, elaboration, trafficking or any other activity that promotes or facilitates the consumption of psychotropic substances. On the other hand, the Law on Public Safety, also known as “Gag Rule”, says that it is a
“serious penalty to have or consume drugs, even if the user isn’t trafficking, in public places or public transportation services”.
However, a person can carry up to 100 grams of cannabis for self-consumption; which is the dose that could correspond to between 3-5 days. More than that amount is a crime against public health, according to the Penal Code, and it can be punished with between 3 and 6 years in prison.
The “Gag Law” is also very specific about marijuana grows and says that they can’t be visible from the street. In conclusion, in Spain, growing your own marijuana plants for self-consumption is legal as long as the plants aren’t perceptible for people walking by in the street (neighbors, children, etc.) and that the flowers are for self-consumption.
What is curious is that it doesn’t specify how many marijuana plants can you grow, it only says that they can’t be visible from the outside of the private property. Of course, even if it is apparently legal to grow marijuana plants, you shouldn’t grow past the limits of common sense in order not to make authorities think that your grow is not for self-supply.
Spanish Proposals for cannabis legalization
On the 24th of September of 2021, “Unidas Podemos” made a proposal to the political party in charge about decriminalizing the consumption and possession of marijuana, alleging that they needed to regulate an already existing reality in the country.
One month later, Más País took another proposal to the Congress of Deputies; where it mentioned the possibility of legalizing consumption for people over 18 years old and allowing users to grow of up to 12 marijuana plants for self-supply. This proposal also suggests the possibility of adding up to 35% of taxes on top of the final price when its use isn’t for therapeutic use or investigation.
Currently, the Health Commission of the Congress of Deputies has created a sub-commission in charge of studying the legalization of medical cannabis for therapeutic purposes. It includes 15 people of all the political parties that have government representation and they should reach a conclusion before the end of June. Another one of its objectives is to derogate the gag law.
Legal cannabis crops
Authorizations that allow cannabis crops
There are some occasions when growing marijuana plants is legal. Currently, there are 19 legal cannabis grows with the purpose of investigating or manufacturing cannabis products. None of them are in the hands of a private company.
According to Confac in 2020, there are more than 1500 cannabis clubs all over Spain. These clubs aren’t legal according to their sector in particular; but they use the Law of Associations, the same one used by political parties, religious congregations or syndicates. Although cannabis cultivation is only legal for self-consumption, these clubs usually have shared grows. Their objective since they opened more than 30 years ago is to produce good quality cannabis from a safe source.
Catalonia tried to regulate the legal void in which these associations are based; but the Constitutional Tribunal overrode their autonomous laws because they were dealing with a punishable matter. There are some basic rules to join these clubs; you have to be older than 18 years old, mentally competent and recommended by another member of the club. Once a new member joins the club, they can use the resources and participate in taking care of them; including the marijuana plants.
Medicines derived from marijuana
Two legal pharmaceutical drugs come from cannabis derivatives. One is Epydyolex, an epilepsy treatment approved by the National Health System in September 2021. It has been available since.
The other one is Sativex, suitable to improve the spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis; authorized after obtaining very positive results in different clinical trials. Although growing cannabis plants to create these medicines is legal; quite often pharmaceutical companies choose countries where cannabis is fully legal.
On the other hand, hemp grows are legal because they don’t have any psychoactive components. There is no plant restriction. You can grow as many as you want because they don’t have any psychotropic substances. However, the police have made various confiscations because they are hard to detect at plain sight; therefore, we recommend keeping your hemp plants away from visible spots to avoid possible problems