If you’ve been paying attention to recent discussions of cannabis legalisation in Australia, you may have heard people mention social clubs for cannabis. But what are Cannabis Social Clubs (CSCs), and why are they important? That’s what we’ll cover today.
What are CSCs?
CSCs (sometimes called “tea pads”) are non-profit organisations that help people who can’t grow their own cannabis access it cheaply and legally.
CSCs work like this: people join the CSC by applying and paying a membership fee. Then, they are given cannabis or CBD oil regularly by approved members who are permitted to grow it. The money from the membership fee funds the cost of growing cannabis (i.e. it pays for soil, seeds, fertilisers, labour, and equipment).
CSCs currently operate in a few countries, including Spain, Belgium, Uruguay, and some parts of the United States.
Why are CSCs important?
CSCs are a great “middle ground” between a prohibition and a heavily regulated cannabis market.
As the government oversees CSCs, the cannabis they produce is quality controlled and grown in optimal conditions. This makes it safer than black market cannabis, which is sometimes grown in fertilisers that aren’t suitable for human consumption (as public health isn’t generally a priority of crime syndicates).
CSCs also make it cheap for medical cannabis users to access high-quality, organic cannabis. As many medical cannabis users are retired or cannot work due to illness, this is invaluable.
Finally, CSCs have strong social benefits, as they provide a community for cannabis users. Essentially, they offer all the same social benefits as a community garden, except you have to be 18+ to join.
What does Victoria’s Inquiry Into the Use of Cannabis say about CSCs?
In early August, the results of Victoria’s Inquiry into the Use of Cannabis were published.
The report mentions CSCs in section 1.2.5. In short, the report says that introducing CSCs could make it safer for Australians to access cannabis if they were heavily regulated. It suggests these regulations limit the age of CSC participants to 18+, impose quantity restrictions, and closed membership.
The report also touches on Spain’s CSCs in section 6.5. Here, it mentions that Spain has around 400 CSCs and lists the restrictions CSCs must follow. As there are too many of those to cover here, you can read them for yourself here if you like (go to pages 236 – 240).
Ultimately, the report concludes the CSCs could be beneficial for Australians, though Commonwealth legislation may stand in the way of establishing them.
So there you have it: the ABCs of CSCs.