By Steve Elliott
The Spanish city of San Sebastian, also called Donostia in the Basque region of Spain, has voted to license and regulate -- and thus legalize -- private marijuana clubs.
The city plans to pioneer the opening and operation of legal cannabis clubs for both therapeutic and recreational purposes, reports Beatriz C. Alonso Velazquez at Noticias de Gipuzkoa.
The legislation, first approved in March by the local governing board, on April 30 received the first plenary ratification without any dissenting vote. After a period of arguments, it will pass the House after which the law will come into force.
Donostia city officials estimated that 2,000 people are currently members of the 21 cannabis clubs that already operate discreetly in the city.
City council members are currently drafting a manual of practices and regulations for the clubs, saying the rules are meant to protect users.
"You can not ignore reality," said city council member Meredith Aguilera, adding that having a record of marijuana clubs which exist in the city will be helpful.
With these regulations, the government is attempting to fix a contradiction in the law -- while the personal consumption of cannabis products is allowed, their sale isn't.
According to the draft legislation, the clubs may not be closer than 300 meters to schools, and a minimum of 500 meters must be between two marijuana clubs. The clubs will be prohibited at places where smoking isn't allowed, such as shopping centers, malls and sports facilities, and they will not be allowed to install terraces on the street, as bars do.
The clubs will not be allowed to admit minors, or to be open in hours other than 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.