Herewith Encod presents a code of conduct for European Cannabis Social Clubs. This code has been elaborated by Encod members in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Some of them are currently involved in Cannabis Social Clubs that operate legally in their country, others are involved in the preparation of CSC’s that will be established once the legislation on cultivation of cannabis for personal use allows for this. To know more, please contact Encod.
EUROPEAN CANNABIS SOCIAL CLUBS
CODE OF CONDUCT
Due to the lack of a legal framework with regards to cannabis cultivation for personal use, we, cannabis consumers throughout Europe have initiated an own model of regulation and control.
This model, called the Cannabis Social Club, aims to prevent cannabis consumers from being involved in illegal activities and assures that certain requirements concerning public health and safety are being fulfilled. Cannabis Social Clubs (CSC) are registered, non-profit associations that are formed by adult people who consume cannabis. They can be set up legally in any country where cultivation of personal amounts of cannabis has been decriminalised. In countries where this is not yet the case, CSC’s can operate as an experiment in order to prepare for the moment when the laws on cannabis cultivation for personal use will change. According to article 12 of the Charter of Fundamental Human Rights of the European Union, “everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association at all levels”.
Cannabis Social Clubs organise the collective cultivation of an amount of cannabis that is exclusively meant for the private consumption of their members. The production capacity of a CSC is based on the expected level of yearly consumption of its members, increased with a reasonable buffer to counter the risk of failed harvest, theft, and provide for ‘emergency stash’ for people who consume cannabis for medicinal reasons. The internal rules of a CSC include a protocol about the management of this eventual surplus.
Before becoming member of a Cannabis Social Club, the applicant must state that he/she is a user of cannabis, or provide a medical report stating the diagnosis, to check that the person is diagnosed with a disease for which the use of cannabis is indicated, according to the regularly published lists by the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine (IACM).
Cannabis Social Clubs have a protocol for adhesion of new members that includes an explanation on their rights and duties, an indication of the estimated amount of consumption and a private conversation on the history of use. This allows the clubs to recognise problematic consumption (psychopathologies), and to respond to this situation. Cannabis Social Clubs apply an active policy of prevention of harms and risks and promotion of safer methods of consumption of cannabis by its members.
Cannabis Social Clubs take a comprehensive written record of consumption made by their members from collective farming, register in which they shall contain at least a membership number, the amounts withdrawn and the date of withdrawal. In this register personal data are ensured at all times. There will be an upper limit on the amounts that members may receive, in order to avoid the possibility of facilitating the use of third parties.
Cannabis Social Clubs take a comprehensive written record of production, in which the association shall certify the dates of the cycle of cultivation, the used methods of cultivation and the amounts collected and suitable for consumption. Inspections are carried out randomly by representatives of the association, to verify the location, safety measures and estimated volume of production.
The methods of cultivation, post-harvest treatment etc. shall meet up to the standards of biological agriculture with sustainable use of natural resources.
Once the harvest has been controlled and the final production volume quantified, the association will issue a written authorization to one of its representatives to proceed to transport the crop product from the place where it is cultivated to the premises where the controlled distribution is carried out.
Cannabis Social Clubs are characterised by transparency, democracy and non-profitability. They function as an association, with complete openness about financial arrangements to their members, so the members can see how the costs are calculated and the money is spent. CSC’s organize a general assembly at least once a year, where annual reports are discussed and approved. These reports include a complete balance of incomes and expenses in the past fiscal year, according to the rules established for this purpose.
Cannabis Social Clubs may decide to employ staff members, who can receive reasonable remuneration. Thus they contribute to the creation of employment, economic re-activation and savings on the budget for law enforcement.
Unlike cannabis distributors who operate on the illegal market, Cannabis Social Clubs are willing to enter into dialogue with authorities to provide insight in their working methods, in the framework of the elaboration of a legal regulation of cannabis. Local authorities should have an interest in such a regulation, which will enable them to control the CSC's in order to ensure their transparent and safe way of working. Thus, they create an alternative for the black market, prevent the access of minors to cannabis, help to reduce public expenditure and generate tax revenue. CSC’s have an interest in such a regulation as it will ensure the legal status of their organisation and its activities.