As part of the famed conference Spannabis in Barcelona, Spain, the international cannabis industry is on display. The trade show welcomed both industry members and consumers to Fira de Cornellà for its 19th year. As the international cannabis conversation blooms along with the flowers at Primavera (the beginning of Spring), the show signals Primavera (the very beginning of Spring).

There were over 500 businesses on the floor this year, with 25,000 attendees representing 50 different countries. In spite of what Spain lacks in regulatory framework, it makes up for it in heart. The local economy is expected to be boosted by $8 million as a result of the massive undertaking. There is a strong sense of passion and excitement surrounding the burgeoning marijuana industry.

Spannabis is a packed and bustling show floor where growers, hash makers, and business owners representing the weed, hemp, and ancillary industries are all represented. It was by far the busiest B2C cannabis event I've attended.

As the Vice President of Global Expansion for Puffco, one of the world's leading vape tech firms, Chelsea Kossower is well-poised to drive international growth. In fact, Chelsea was the brand's very first employee! She enthuses: “It feels like the beginning all over again. Barcelona is a great city for smoking - you're not in some back alley or forced out onto the streets like in America - it should be done this way. I love it: filling up my Proxy with GWA’s excellent water hash and sipping a cappuccino in peace.”

Having visited Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Amsterdam, and Portugal before Spannabis, Kossower will preach Puffco's gospel in South Africa, a veritable Carmen San Diego of hash.

Puffco Founder and CEO Roger Volodarsky remarks that their growth is directly tied to the growth of hash. He goes on to explain that Spannabis is the premier international event for cannabis enthusiasts, which is a strong indicator of expansion in global markets. He notes that this year's attendance was the highest ever, which is a good omen for the future. Ultimately, he believes it is clear the international market is flourishing.

As the owner of Dank Grass and Grateful Seeds, Pedro is attending Spannabis for his sixth year. As he says, it was an extremely busy year, just like every year. It's more about community, he says. "A totally different vibe. It embodies the spirit of the cannabis movement in Barcelona. Before I was a pioneer, today we're mainstream."

People in the cannabis community in Europe flock to Barcelona because it is a city for growers. Giuliana Fahi, a Barcelona resident and industry veteran, is one of the creators of Ego Clash Invitational, Product Earth representative for the UK brand, and Global Expansion partner for Puffco. The Ego Clash was held in a medieval castle built in 1829 this year.

As a result, Fahi says, “We strive to provide a truly unique experience for the community while helping to normalize cannabis in Spain.” Cannabis enthusiasts are now able to access places previously unavailable to them, like a castle, thanks to innovations such as the Puffco.

Brandon Parker of Sonoma County, California, is the founder of 3rd Generation Family Farm. He expresses greater than gratitude to have been chosen as an exhibitor at Spannabis, given they have a 5 year waiting list. “It’s a blessing to be here," shares Parker. "All the people are friendly and I like questioning them about their backgrounds, as it seems everyone here has their own journey." He goes on to say that in order to thrive in this environment one needs to possess creativity, assurance and understanding of what they're doing.

A variety of the world's best breeders sell seeds, CBD vapes, and tech on the Spannabis floor, according to what the regulations allow. Outside there is a carnival atmosphere with weed smoke swirling around and dust swirling about. Vendors are pouring beers and carving Iberico ham as costumed weed nug characters pose for photos.

Hidden social clubs

There are over 300 clubs in Barcelona where marijuana is hidden and vast. The energy here is more paranoid than anywhere I’ve reported on or visited before legalization. It has so much history. The Gothic exterior conceals a thriving cannabis scene, too busy with bar-filled streets.

Word-of-mouth is the best way to find the best social clubs. They are only open to private members, which usually cost about 20 Euros. One of my favorite social clubs was the award-winning GWA Social Club, which stands for Growers with Attitude. The GWA offers organically grown weed to its private members, located near Gaudi's masterpiece La Sagrada Familia.

The best social clubs in the city are La Kalada, Terpy, HQ Barcelona, and Terps Army, all featuring extensive international and local menus, including a Cali menu at Terps Army featuring strains from Fidels Worldwide and Doja Pak.

Consumers are forced inside, in caverns and caves filled with smoke, no windows, and usually some local street art embellishing the walls, otherwise local police will issue fines for public consumption.

Since Spain is one of the few countries in Europe where one can grow as a personal caregiver, the industry exists in a liminal grey zone. This makes it less risky for cultivators to enter the market. Spain is home to some of the best growers on the continent. Sam founded RTZ Rootz on Tenerife from England in order to grow and grow weed. He won the Tenerife Cup last year (the next one is on 4/20/2023).

Navigating the weed industry can be tough, especially with it making its way from medical and private clubs to the mainstream. You must really search diligently through the winding backstreets to come across a precious few gems. If you come across stores with titles like “Hemp Store” or “Cannabis” they usually don't offer cannabis but rather CBD and synthetics that might not always be secure for customers. Though you may find some good CBD, these items are loosely monitored in touristy spots.