How to get a Cannabis License in Spain

How to get a Cannabis License in Spain

Becoming a licensed cannabis grower in Spain isn’t straightforward

Here’s what you need to know before diving in on how to get a cannabis license in Spain: there currently is no clear path to becoming a licensed cannabis cultivator in Spain. This is surprising considering the country’s recent cannabis decriminalization measures. Spain is an ideal place to grow cannabis because of its natural climate and vast arable land. Currently, there are large numbers of illegal cannabis plantations in Spain. This illegal supply chain is used for export to other countries and is likely also supplying the numerous private cannabis clubs that do operate legally. The few companies that are licensed to grow cannabis in Spain do not supply domestic cannabis users and there is no national medical marijuana program. However, there is hope that lawmakers will make changes to Spain’s paradoxical cannabis policies in the near future.

Overview of Cannabis Legality in Spain

Personal consumption of cannabis is legal as long as you consume cannabis in private, including at members-only non-profit cannabis clubs. You can buy and use cannabis at the clubs, and you are allowed to grow up to two plants per household as long as they are out of public view. If you get caught consuming cannabis in public, you can face legal consequences. Using cannabis in private is totally legal. Selling and trafficking cannabis is illegal and can lead to jail time and steep penalties. While most attitudes towards cannabis are lax in Spain, you still need to be careful.

Medical Marijuana in Spain

Different regions of Spain have their own laws and regulations. However, medical marijuana is not legal and there are no government-backed medical marijuana programs in Spain [3]. Those interested in medical marijuana can access recreational cannabis by growing it themselves or going to a private cannabis club. Doctors are not involved though and are not likely to provide medical marijuana advice to directions for proper use. The Spanish government does have a strong interest in research. However, despite being one of the first European nations to decriminalize cannabis, progress towards medical or recreational cannabis has stalled at that point.

Defining Cannabis in Spain

There is no legal differentiation between medical cannabis and recreational cannabis in Spain [3]. Any cannabis with more than 0.2% THC is deemed marijuana. It is considered to be hemp if it has 0.2% THC or less. All cannabis that is not grown in private for personal use is illegal. It is not clear how private cannabis clubs are able to sell legal cannabis to members.

Licenced Cannabis Growers in Spain

There are very few licenced cannabis producers in Spain that are authorized to grow cannabis for medicinal use. This is likely because there is no medical marijuana program [1, 2]. Many companies produce cannabis for export. One of the latest to become authorized is Medical Plants SLU, a new division of a major Spanish tomato producer that has retrofitted part of its facility in order to grow cannabis. The AEMPS (Spanish Drug and Healthcare Products Agency) granted them authorization to cultivate, process, and manufacture cannabis in September of 2020. They are currently in the process of getting Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification. Once obtained, they will be able to start cultivating cannabis for use in clinical trials and research.

How to Get a Cannabis License in Spain

There is limited information to guide those who are interested in getting a license to cultivate cannabis in Spain [2]. First, you will only be allowed to cultivate for export, for research, or for medicinal purposes. Second, you will need to start the process by contacting the Narcotics and Psychotropic Department of the AEMPS (narcotics@aemps.es). They will have you submit information about your proposed site and operations and you will report to them annually. Licenses are granted for a period of one year and likely need to have backing from a research institution or clinical trial.

Based on the report that Medical Plants SLU is pending GMP certification, it is very likely that other cannabis cultivators also need to meet this requirement. If you are interested in learning more about growing cannabis under GMP regulation, GrowerIQ consulting services can help. GrowerIQ understands what cannabis companies need to do to meet stringent regulatory requirements, and offers standard operating procedures (SOPs) and seed-to-sale software that helps growers stay compliant.

Final Thoughts on Spanish Cannabis Cultivation

Cannabis cultivation in Spain is a confusing matter. There is no legal medical marijuana program, but there are companies currently licensed to produce it. Notably, public approval for medical marijuana has been estimated to be up to 90% [4]. As one reporter explains,

The cultivation of cannabis in large quantities is prohibited… except if the Government graciously grants a license. Then, if the applicant is lucky and, based on criteria that only AMEPS knows about, is granted a license, planting hectares of marijuana is legal.

Harrison, V. “The support for medical cannabis is growing in Spain”

This has Spanish cannabis activists working to pressure the government to make changes that would make sense of the Spanish cannabis paradox. If it is legal to consume in private and grow, then why not allow it to be legally produced and grown? And why not give patients safe access to medical cannabis and doctors that can guide them to use it properly? Paradoxical as it is, there are currently many measures for reform awaiting debate by Spain’s Congress [4]. In the meantime, those looking to get cannabis cultivation licenses in Spain will need to work directly with the AMEPS and research institutions to find opportunities.

Find Out More

GrowerIQ’s seed-to-sale software and consulting is a critical system to help you comply with regulations to obtain a cannabis license in Spain. Our experts can help you create a successful international cannabis venture and strive within any legal framework. To learn more, get in touch with our Cannabis professionals by completing the form below.

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About GrowerIQ

GrowerIQ is a complete cannabis cultivation management platform, designed in partnership with Master Grower, Shlomo Booklin. Ours is the first platform to integrate your facility systems, including sensors, building controls, QMS, and ERP, into a single simplified interface.

The company built insights from Shlomo’s 30+ years of agronomist experience right into the platform. GrowerIQ leverages proprietary machine learning technology to improve facility automation and provide cultivators with insights to improve quality and consistency. GrowerIQ is changing the way cultivators use software – transforming a regulatory requirement into a robust platform to learn, analyze, and improve crop performance.

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References

  1. Autorizaciones vigentes emitidas por la AEMPS para el cultivo de plantas de Cannabis – Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios. Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios. Published 2019. Retrieved 5/9/21 from https://www.aemps.gob.es/medicamentos-de-uso-humano/estupefacientes-y-psicotropos/autorizaciones-vigentes-emitidas-por-la-aemps-para-el-cultivo-de-plantas-de-cannabis/
  2. ‌Estupefacientes y Psicótropos – Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios. Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios. Published 2019. Retrieved 5/9/21 from https://www.aemps.gob.es/medicamentos-de-uso-humano/estupefacientes-y-psicotropos/?lang=en
  3. Growth in the Spanish medical cannabis landscape. November 13, 2020.. Prohibition Partners. Published November 13, 2020. Retrieved 5/9/21 from https://prohibitionpartners.com/2020/11/13/new-player-in-the-spanish-medical-cannabis-landscape/
  4. Harrison V. The support for medical cannabis is growing in Spain. Born2Invest. Published April 22, 2021. Retrieved 5/9/21 from https://born2invest.com/articles/support-medical-cannabis-growing-spain/