How coffee shops in Barcelona (really) work

How are the coffee shops in Barcelona different from the coffeeshops in Amsterdam?

Modified on: 23/10/2023

Not to be confused with coffee shops in amsterdam! How are they different?

Let’s start this article by clarifying that the term coffee shop associated with Barcelona and Spain, in general, is not entirely correct, as they are not open-access shops like those in the Netherlands.

What are coffee shops?

The term coffee shop refers to establishments licensed to sell small amounts of cannabis and other substances with mild psychotropic effects.

It is usually possible to try to compare the effects of different varieties and qualities of cannabis in these shops and get advice from the sellers.

Often edible products are also sold, such as sweets made with the active ingredients of cannabis, the most famous being ‘space cake’ and ‘space chocolate’.

Read also: Cannabis social clubs: 3 countries where you can easily find one

Coffee shop rules

5 grams is the maximum amount per person that can be sold per day

Coffee shops are subject to strict regulations: the maximum amount of cannabis sold is 5 grams per person per day, and no more than 6 coffee shops can be used per user, for a total of 30 grams per day per person.

This limitation was established both to safeguard consumers’ health and prevent the exportation of marijuana abroad.

Do you remember hallucinogenic mushrooms? The so-called ‘magic mushrooms’, a particular species of mushroom prized for their ability to produce strong psychedelic effects? Well, they are now banned by law.

In coffee shops, all cannabinoid products and preparations containing traces of cannabinoids must be adequately and unequivocally marked to prevent them from being purchased and consumed unwittingly.

In addition, owners of these establishments must avoid any advertising, prohibit entry to minors, and face immediate revocation of their licences if hard drugs are consumed inside.

Read also: Everything you need to know about trimming (pruning) cannabis

And in Spain?

The appreciation of Cannabis in Spain has borne important fruits in recent decades, leading this country to become one of the most liberal and innovative in terms of the acceptance of marijuana and hashish.

The consumption of marijuana for personal use is often tolerated by law enforcement, but with certain limits. Smoking cannabis is allowed, but is considered a strictly private and confidential matter that can only take place in the privacy of one’s own home or designated locations.

Smoking Cannabis is allowed but only in the privacy of one's home or in designated places

Smoking cannabis is allowed, but only in the privacy of one’s own home or designated places.

Possession and consumption of marijuana in public are considered a punishable offence at the discretion of the police (with fines of 300 euros and more); discreet transportation is tolerated only for products packaged and certified by the producer, for quantities less than or equal to 50 grams of the product, in the form of CBD flower for example.

Amsterdam VS Barcelona

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, coffee shops in Spain, and in this case, in Barcelona — the capital of Catalonia where the largest number of shops are located — are incredibly different from coffee shops in Amsterdam.

What differentiates them most is the fact that they are not open to everyone. But, they are private places where people of legal age (in Spain, the age of majority is 21) who consume marijuana come together to make what in Spanish is called ‘consumo compartido’, i.e., to smoke together.

To access these types of coffee shops, it is indispensable to be a member and part of the associations. The reason is that members receive a monthly quantity of marijuana agreed in advance and limited to the current month, which must be consumed on the premises.

These coffee shops aim to cultivate marijuana for distribution among their members to avoid buying and selling on the black market and not comply with the laws on the cultivation and consumption of soft drugs.


Private coffee shops in Barcelona differ in size, quality, themes and target demographics, so how can we find the right place for our needs if, by law, these places cannot advertise themselves?

Once again, the media (blogs, Facebook pages) and word of mouth, a very powerful weapon, come to our aid to find the club that interests us most.

Meanwhile, while you are waiting to fly to Barcelona and register at a coffee shop (remember that you need a Spanish address to register), you can “fly” to our online CBD shop Justbob and discover our catalogue!