Cannabis continues to make more and more progress in the pursuit of a normal, legal status. Recently the Barcelona Cannabis ‘club’ announced plans are now well underway to lease a 17 acre (70,000m²) plot of land to allow them to grow collectively for their 5,000 members. This will make it Europe’s biggest and best cannabis farm. It will also serve as a great model for the rest of Europe, and beyond, to show that there are responsible and acceptable ways of mass producing and supplying marijuana to those that want it. One big advantage of the ‘Cannabis club’ over coffeeshops is that it allows for legal production of plants on a large scale.
Spain is rapidly becoming the most cannabis friendly place in Europe for cannabis. Many people grow a few plants for themselves quite openly. Many others have joined together with groups of friends to form a cannabis club where top quality varieties are grown and shared among members. Recreational and medical cannabis users are finding more and more advantages to the system. Attitudes are relaxed but not perfect; there is still opposition from the right-wing elements and others.
The Barcelona Cannabis Users Club (‘ABCDA’) has a 5,000 strong membership and their plans for a 17 acre ganja farm make the mouth water. That is an area equivalent to around 10 football fields and will allow them to grow a huge variety of quality strains. Imagine how much fun it would be if you could work in such a place! Being able to come to work each morning and farm so many plants legally would be a dream career for lots of people.
The plan involves a crop rotation scheme with marijuana, sugar beet and cereal. Presumably this is to maintain and improve soil quality. The idea is that they can create employment for dozens of people on the farm in order to grow enough weed for their users. If you assumed 5,000 users would get through 25 grams of weed per person per month then they would need to harvest 125kg per month and 1,500Kg each year. That is a heck of a lot of weed, and I am guessing that they would not want to harvest all of that in October from traditional outdoor/polytunnel production. My guess is that they would need to combine production of traditional varieties with AutoFem’s to give them lots of early season crop.
I am also guessing they will be growing in polytunnels to allow some ‘privacy’ for such a large amount of weed. They will try to keep the site location secret but with so many people working the land it will only be a matter of time before the location is known. So security will need to be tight. Many people in Spain pay around €100 per year as membership fee’s and this will generate large amounts of cash for the biggest cannabis clubs to invest in the necessary perimeter fencing and infrastructure to set up these mega-farms.
As well as weed production there may be possibilities to produce seeds for sale. This is a good idea, but if I were growing as much weed as that I wouldn’t want any male plants anywhere near the place.
The local town council in Rasqueura, Catalonia, thinks the revenues will be able to pay off the €1.3 million local government debt in just 2 years. This is because the Cannabis Club will pay land rental taxes. So it is a scheme where everyone wins. And plenty of other Cannabis Clubs are looking closely at this test-farm to see if they can replicate the process in other Spanish districts. However the Cannabis Clubs will need to make sure that they only supply weed to their members. Selling to non-members would be seen as breaking the ‘code’ of the club. The Spanish Police seem prepared to respect the clubs and leave them alone when run well. But they have been looking closely at the Barcelona Club after reports that some of their weed was making it onto the streets. I hope for their sake that they don’t jeopardize their future in this way through the actions of one or two rogue members.
But if this farm makes it into reality then everyone gets their weed in a civilised way and the local tax revenues are helped out.
Dutch Passion salute the Spanish people for such sensible and logical thinking. Maybe in a generation from now other countries will have adopted this model.
March 27th 2012