This past June, the Spanish government led by the PSOE (Spanish Workers’ Socialist Party) made clear that it is not willing to enter into a regulation of cannabis without first demonstrating, by means of clinical trials, that there is no risk for patients. In these last days, as it is indicated from El Publico, the legislative branch of the government announced that it will start programs of medical use of the cannabis, to weigh the evidence that exists on its therapeutic effectiveness and the adverse effects of its use.
Taking advantage of the situation, the progressive party Podemos prepared a proposal to fully regulate cannabis use (both therapeutic and recreational). The draft law updates the one that was presented at the end of the previous legislature, which saw briefly life in Catalonia in 2017, only to be repealed by presidential mandate in December 2017. Pablo Iglesias, leader of Podemos, hopes to be able to reach a consensus on this law with the PSOE.
In an interview with El Público, Iglesias manifested the inevitability that sooner or later an agreement for cannabis legalization will come to life. Although he declares to have not yet convinced Pedro Sánchez, PSOE’s leader, the leader of Podemos is optimistic, reckoning that, at this point, the debate on this is not whether to do it or not, but who does it first.
The proposal of Podemos includes recreational and medical use of cannabis, autonomous cultivation for personal use, import-export, operating cannabis social clubs (the current coffee-shop like model that lies in a legal grey area since 2012). But not only the business side is catered to: Iglesias envisioned investing cannabis-based tax revenues in strategies of education and responsible consumption and a sanctioning regime, and he has incorporated some new aspects related to the labor rights of cannabis social club workers.
Despite the fact that there is evidence of the benefits of cannabis for some ailments, the government wants its own reports. This is not only a way to insure the political decision from backfiring, but also to gain time to ponder a proposal that without a doubt is going to be controversial, that will attract much media attention and will suppose a newly-opened front with, at least, two parties that will not be persuaded: Partido Popular (PP) and Vox, the expression of the Spanish monarchist far-right. However, not everyone in the right has always been against the proposal: Ciudadanos (Citiznes), for a long time, have favored legalization. Still, it may be that now, with the new left-wing leadership, the government has decided to put the brakes on.
For the moment, the PSOE is silent on the matter, but some media maintain that important agents related to the regulation of cannabis, like the Spanish Observatory of Medicinal Cannabis and the European Observatory of Cannabis Consumption and Cultivation, have maintained contacts with different parliamentary groups.