Cannabis cultivation for research, medical and scientific purposes is prohibited unless authorised by the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices (AEMPS).
To date, the AEMPS has granted eight authorisations to cultivate “Cannabis sativa” to seven entities. Five for crops for research purposes, one of which is for content lower than 0.2% THC, one licence for cultivation for educational purposes only and two for cultivation for medicinal purposes.
As medicinal cannabis is not regulated in Spain, the cultivation of cannabis or the production of derivatives for commercialisation is only allowed in the case of export to a company duly authorised in its country of origin.
The authorisations that can be obtained from AEMPS in order to enter the cannabis business are:
- authorisation for the cultivation of cannabis plants for research purposes for the production of varieties or seeds of cannabis with therapeutic use or for the investigation of the physical and/or pharmacological properties, among others, of cannabis and its products and;
- authorisation for the cultivation of cannabis plants for medical and scientific purposes.
Patients can have access to a cannabis-based drug only on medical prescription if they suffer from sclerosis, cancer or other chronic pain diseases.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, a patient who decides to use it for these purposes should do so through a Social Club of Cannabis (CSC) in order to prevent their conduct from being considered illicit due to the fact that the CSC is apparently covered under the doctrine of “shared use”.
Article 368 of the Spanish Criminal Code criminalises the cultivation of cannabis when it promotes, favours or facilitates the illegal consumption of drugs and establishes a prison sentence of three to six years.
Nevertheless, the case law provides that cultivation and possession of narcotic substances that are not intended for trafficking but for one’s own consumption and certain hypotheses of shared consumption in which there is no purpose or risk of diffusion is unpunished. Consequently, if the cultivation is not intended for the purposes discussed but only for self-consumption or shared use within an organisation, is an act of impunity.
Furthermore, Spanish legislation on security protection establishes that the “consumption or possession” of “toxic drugs, narcotics or psychotropic substances, even if they are not intended for trafficking, in places, roads, establishments public or public transport” is considered as a serious offence, and imposes sanctions ranging from EUR 600 to EUR 30,000.