Cannabis Plants On The Balcony
For the first time in the legislative history of Spain, it is considered a serious offense to have marijuana plants visible from the street even if they are for self-consumption – that is not fined if it is not done in public – or also if they are from a friend. This is established by the so-called Gag Law, which came into force on July 1. That “visible to the public” is a later addition to the text, since it was not in the draft proposed by the Ministry of the Interior.
The predecessor norm to this is the Citizen Security Law of 1992, known as Corcuera law or the kick in the door and, although it fined consumption in public as the current norm, it did not consider infringement the fact of cultivating cannabis. Directly it did not regulate it. The law of the 90s and the current one do have one thing in common: the maximum amount for smoking on the street, which has not changed a penny. Two decades ago the maximum penalty was 5 million pesetas. Today, 30,000 euros. The minimum fine has been doubled: from 50,001 pesetas to the current 601 euros.
So, from now on, if a police officer patrols the street and sees a marijuana plant on a balcony, he can file an infraction report. When considered severe, the fine goes from 601 to 30,000 euros, as consumed in public places. What if the plant was not owned by the owner of the apartment, or was it not a marijuana plant?
With the Gag Law, the agent’s word weighs more than the defendant’s, and it will be the one who has to prove that it was not so.
Martín Barriuso, former president of the Federation of Cannabis Associations and collaborator of the same, explains that “they wanted to stop the cultivation on the terraces because they do not want people to come out of the closet.” He is also surprised by the euphoria unleashed with a “very optimistic interpretation” that is being made in social networks of the Gag Law by some activists.
It refers to a post and video of lawyer Enrique Fornes who is running on social networks since June 5. He called it “The cultivation of cannabis has been decriminalized.” The information has begun to penetrate and has even reached some media, which include an alleged legal loophole in the Gag Law that is not such. The interpretation of lawyer Fornes is that as it penalizes exclusively “visible” plants, it would be decriminalized to have them inside the house.
Nothing is further from reality. If the law does not get into what happens in a house is because it has no competition. For the police to get into someone’s house, they would need a court order. And a judge will only issue it if there is a crime of drug trafficking. “Logically, only what is exposed to the public is sanctioned, because it is inadmissible for you to be prohibited from doing in your home what is not a crime,” explains lawyer Isabel Elba, on cultivation for self-consumption.
Barriuso considers the lawyer’s publication “irresponsibility and also leads to enthusiasm when the reality is that Spain is still very repressive.” Such is the mess that your association has had to issue a note denying that the Gag Law opens the door to the cultivation of marijuana as Fornés says.