Cannabis Social Clubs in Belgium: a study of the organization of collective cannabis cultivation for personal use and characteristics of club members

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Cannabis Social Clubs (CSCs) are associations of adult cannabis users, often registered in the relevant national registries, which seek to establish a closed system of cannabis supply for the personal use of their members – based on cooperative and non-profit principles. As such, CSCs can be understood as an alternative (and ‘middle ground’) model for the supply of cannabis. The first known CSC initiatives emerged in Spain during the 1990s, but CSCs can now be found in many other countries, even if not formally recognized by their respective public authorities (Uruguay is a noteworthy exception, having legalized and regulated the model since the passing of law 19,172).

The CSC label thus may cover different empirical realities. Although the model has become a frequent subject in the international debate about drug policy reform, detailed empirical data on how CSCs are organized and structured, on how CSCs’ operate as cannabis suppliers, and about their members remains scarce in the international academic literature.

This study aims to analyze CSCs in Belgium, focusing on three dimensions:

  1. The organization, structure and functioning of the CSCs;
  2. The socio-demographic characteristics and drug use patterns of the CSCs’ members;
  3. The cannabis produced by the CSCs.



PARDAL, M. (2018). Een inkijk in het leiderschap van Cannabis Social Clubs in België: criminelen, activisten, modelburgers? Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, (8)3, 7-24.

PARDAL, M. (2018). A study of Cannabis Social Clubs in Belgium. Insights into the supply model, the movement, and its key actors (Dissertation).

PARDAL, M., & TIEBERGHIEN, J. (2018). Cannabis Social Clubs on YouTube: a qualitative content analysis. In: Korf, D., Fountain, J., & Potter, G. (Eds.), Evidence in European social drug research and drug policy, 81-95. Lengerich: Pabst Science Publishers.

PARDAL, M. (2018). An analysis of Belgian Cannabis Social Clubs' supply practices: a shapeshifting model? international Journal of Drug Policy, 57, p. 32-41.

PARDAL, M., & DECORTE, T. (2018). Cannabis use and supply patterns among Belgian Cannabis Social Club members. Journal of Drug Issues, 48(4), 689-709.

PARDAL, M., & BAWIN, F. (2018). The supply of cannabis for medical use through Cannabis Social Clubs in Belgium. Contemporary Drug Problems.

PARDAL, M. (2018). "The difference is in the tomato at the end": understanding the motivations and practices of cannabis growers operating within Belgian Cannabis Social Clubs. International Journal of Drug Policy, 56, p. 21-29.

PARDAL, M. (2018). The Belgian Cannabis Social Club landscape. Drugs & Alcohol Today, 18(2), 80-89.

PARDAL, M., TIEBERGHIEN, J. (2017). An analysis of media framing of and by Cannabis Social Clubs in Belgium: making the news?. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 24(4), 348-358.

DECORTE, T., PARDAL, M., QUEIROLO, R., BOIDI, M. F., SANCHEZ, C., PARES, O. (2017). Regulating Cannabis Social Clubs: a comparative analysis of legal and self-regulatory practices in Spain, Belgium and Uruguay. International Journal of Drug Policy, 43(1), 44-56.

DECORTE, T. & PARDAL, M. (2017). Cannabis Social Clubs in Europe: Prospects and Limits, pp. 285-299. In: Colson, R., Bergeron, H., European Drug Policies: the ways of reform. New York: Routledge.

PARDAL, M. (2016). Cannabis social clubs in Belgium: growing in a legal haze?, pp. 13-29. In: Maillard, J. et al., (eds.), Crime and order, criminal justice experiences and desistance: today’s security issues (Vol. 4). Antwerpen: Maklu.

PARDAL, M. (2016) Cannabis Social Clubs through the lens of the drug user movement. Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, (6),2, 47-58.


Institute for Social Drug Research - Ghent University
Dr. Mafalda Pardal

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Startdatum 01/03/2015
Einddatum 31/12/2018


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Vlaamse gemeenschap (bv. FWO …)


Illegale drugs


Beleidsondersteunend en economisch onderzoek
Sociologisch / psychologisch / criminologisch onderzoek





Datum laatste wijziging: 09/07/2021
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