Cannabis Social Clubs' presence, ties, and practices within the European Union

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This study focuses on a particular model for the supply of cannabis: Cannabis Social Clubs (CSCs). CSCs are an intermediate, non-profit model, which rely on in-house growers to cultivate the cannabis that is distributed among CSCs’ adult members. CSCs have first emerged in Spain, but can be found in many other European countries today, although little is known about their features and the ties among them. This study contributes to filling that research gap by providing a mapping of the CSC presence across the European Union member states. The development of collaborative relationships among CSCs across countries will be explored, as well as the transfer of knowledge and/or practices, and eventual emergence of a transnational movement. As such, this study draws on social movement literature, particularly with regards to transnational processes. Special attention will be given to how European CSCs have operationalized the key principles and design characteristics typically associated with this model. As CSCs have primarily been driven by the (self-regulatory) efforts of cannabis users and activists, it is likely that practices may differ across settings. This study is relevant to develop the thinking on ‘supply architectures’ and its design, and is informative for current discussions about cannabis legalization. As such, the study is driven by the following research questions:

  • In which EU member states are CSCs currently active?
  • How do European CSCs organize the supply of cannabis?
    • What are the key differences and similarities in relation to the known practices?
  • To what extent have transnational dynamics emerged among European CSCs?
    • To what extent have CSCs developed common activities and shared knowledge?
    • Have supra-national organizations been created to represent CSCs?
    • To what extent is transnational collective action taking place?


PARDAL, M., BONE, M., DECORTE, T., QUEIROLO, R., PARÉS, Ò., JOHANSSON, J., ÁLVAREZ, E., REPETTO, L. (2020). Hidden and uninterested populations: methodological insights and unresolved issues from the study of Cannabis Social Clubs. Methodological Innovations. 

PARDAL, M., DECORTE, T., BONE, M., PARÉS, Ò., JOHANSSON, J. (2020). Mapping Cannabis Social Clubs in Europe. European Journal of Criminology.

DECORTE, T., PARDAL, M. (2020). Insights for the design of Cannabis Social Club regulation. In: Decorte, T., Lenton, S., Wilkins, C. (Eds.), Legalizing cannabis: experiences, lessons and scenarios, 409-426. London: Routledge.

JANSSEUNE, L., PARDAL, M., DECORTE, T., & PARÉS, Ò (2019). Revisiting the birthplace of the Cannabis Social Club model and the role played by Cannabis Social Club Federations. Journal of Drug Issues.


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

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Startdatum 01/01/2019
Einddatum 31/10/2020


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Illegale drugs


Sociologisch / psychologisch / criminologisch onderzoek





Datum laatste wijziging: 09/07/2021
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