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Spanish Group Forms to Strengthen Women’s Voice in Cannabis Industry

In Spain, grassroots social movements have come together to help build a system where individuals can lawfully purchase and consume cannabis. Thanks to activists working from the bottom up, there are now hundreds of cannabis social clubs across the country. Now a new and long-neglected focus of cannabis culture is finally coming to the fore: feminism.

It’s hard not to notice the prevalence of men at most cannabis culture and business events. Whether toted around almost as trophies or employed to promote products half-naked, women sometimes are pushed to the industry’s periphery if not excluded altogether. But women, of course, do consume. They do grow. And as the cannabis community evolves, finding a way to strengthen their voice has been a challenge.

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For these reasons, a group of women in Barcelona have launched an initiative aimed at connecting female cannabis advocates from various areas, sharing knowledge and building an network to promote the plant and its legalization. As the group, Mujeres Cannábicas, (Cannabis women), states on its website:

We are women.

We are part of a sector that has been growing unstoppably from the mid-’90s.

We are activists of the cannabis movement.

We are founders of associations, clubs, and groups.

We are communicators, journalists, economists, medical doctors, businesswomen, researchers…

We are. We exist. We want to influence. We want to participate, make ourselves visible, and contribute to transformation.

We are cannabis women.

The idea arose a few years ago among what’s called the CatFAC, a federation of cannabis social clubs (CSCs) in the Spanish region of Catalonia. The clubs are non-profit organizations that grow cannabis for members, who number anywhere between a dozen and a few thousand. Catalonia especially has seen a boom in CSCs in the last decade.

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Last year the CatFAC created a women’s discussion group to identify and address problems within the clubs. It quickly revealed an absence of women in the wider world of cannabis. In March, the group organized a public presentation in Barcelona’s Hash, Marihuana, and Hemp Museum to launch a “National Network of Anti-Prohibitionist Women.” Based on a series of meetings held so far, the group has formulated five chief goals for the network:

  1. Bring women from around Spain together to meeting and network to promote medical access, business development, and drug policy reform in Spain.
  2. Promote discussion and collective analysis of the situation of women in cannabis and related fields in order to identify opportunities for and challenges to women’s active participation in the sector.
  3. Promote cohesion among women involved in the cannabis sector and the drug policy reform field, as consumers, activists, and professionals from various fields.
  4. Increase the presence of women in associations, businesses, political matters, and other public issues related to cannabis.
  5. Increase women’s participation in key decision-making roles within organizations, associations, and companies.

The effort echoes that of other women’s networking groups, such as Women Grow and the NORML Women’s Alliance in the U.S. As Spain wrestles with possible changes to its cannabis policy, supporters are hoping a stronger women’s voice will help reinvigorate the cannabis community both at home and abroad.

Kenzi Riboulet Zemouli's Bio Image
Kenzi Riboulet Zemouli

Kenzi is a French drug policy reform advocate and researcher at FAAAT (Foundation for an Alternative Approach to Addiction and Substance Dependence) who lives in Barcelona, Spain. He is involved in local campaigns in the Occitania (southern France) and Catalonia (northeastern Spain) regions and is a regular at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs meetings at the United Nations in Vienna and Geneva. He focuses primarily on harm reduction issues as they relate to cannabis and on the cannabis social club model as a health-based approach to cannabis policies.

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