Spain (Cannabis Clubs) & Netherlands (Coffeeshops) - Compare and Contrast

General discussion about cannabis and coffeeshops.
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RoMoney
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Spain (Cannabis Clubs) & Netherlands (Coffeeshops) - Compare and Contrast

Post by RoMoney »

So folks, as I'm just back from my third Barca trip this year and I've been going to the Netherlands since 2003, I feel I'm now in a position to articulate my thoughts on this a bit better and wanted to start a thread on it. I've spoken to a few people on ACD about this at length and would be interested to hear the views of others. This thread is just my opinions, obviously everyone has a different experience and I've no experience with clubs outside of Barca so anything I write about that will be anecdotal and if you disagree or have had another/different experience, please share.

I realise this is mainly an Amsterdam/Netherlands website so it will always be more focused towards that but I would say that I think even the most staunch Amsterdam fan would benefit from a visit to the clubs in Barca in that it would give them something else to compare and contrast with as I said in the subject.

Obviously after my January trip (with a friend), second trip (for Spannabis) and third trip (solo) each time I had different experiences and I've got to experience the clubs more, first trip just two clubs and increased that to four on the second trip and visited all four again on the third trip. I had hoped to join a 5th, but with some of the sightseeing etc. time didn't permit.

Access: In the Netherlands access is much easier as there is no membership and you can simply get off a train and head to the nearest coffeeshop anywhere, with the exception of the few places holding out with the wiet pass (e.g. Breda, booooooo Breda!). In Spain you will need to plan ahead, especially for access to better places with more reasonable prices (contacting them on Insta or getting a referral via a member depending on club policy etc). It's also a pain as while there recently with Kenshiro we only had one common membership which makes things hard compared to Netherlands where you can go to any coffeeshop for a smoke with others you meet. While the access generally speaking is a plus for the Netherlands, I will say in defense of the membership system, I've never met a stag party in a cannabis club, though I'm sure they make it to some near La Rambla. Outside of Barca, access seems to be easy on the Canary islands and some of the other more tourist resorts, but less so in other Spanish cities where tourists seem to be more shunned though Madrid does seem to have a scene. Would be interested to hear from people signed up to clubs outside of Barca.

Cost: While I suppose cost does vary widely Barca is generally cheaper. In my experience I've found great strains at half the Dutch prices

Quality: I find the quality in Barca to be much higher, but I've been very lucky in that I've never been to a shit Cannabis Club. It has to be said Papi and others did a good job at joining many initially and weeding out a lot of the shit! Kudos :mrgreen:

Variety: Again my experience is limited to better clubs, but I've found the selection to be better in Barca than Amsterdam, I've got to try out a lot of newer US strains (Spanish grown) and the amount of extracts as well is a big plus over Amsterdam. Outside of Barca again I'm not sure and would be interested to hear, recent vids from Tenerife and Mallorca show great selection, but I'm sure a lot of smaller clubs have more limited strain selection like neighbourhood or small town coffeeshops in the Netherlands

Acceptance: So this is a wierd one, in my opinion young Spanish people are way more embracing (which is better than accepting) of cannabis than the Dutch, but there's still more issues smoking when out and about than in the Netherlands so at the moment I would score the Netherlands a bit higher on acceptance generally, but I think in the next few years that will change with Spain overtaking it.

Supply Chain: Both have very illegal supply chains, Cali and Moroccan import being sold is only there due to many laws being broken in many countries to get it there. I think that's a risk in the long term as those who don't like clubs and CSs will lean on this, though I realise many clubs in Spain supply all their own and don't sell import and I know in Netherlands now some local authorities will have community grows, but overall the supply chain would not hold up well under any scrutiny in either country.

Establishment layout: Clubs are way more spacious, there's no pressure to buy and you can bring in your own food, in fact they've given me plates, cut fruit for me etc. etc. in the clubs so they are beyond helpful, drinks are usually all around a euro versus coffeeshop rip off prices. Also while the clubs do feel like a business to an extent you feel way more at home and less rushed than in a CS and for example while a rude bud tender is common I find the staff in the clubs to be fantastic. Barca wins here, but due to access you don't get to experience as many clubs unless you fork out lots on memberships.

City layout: This is specific to Amsterdam vs Barca, but I think 420 made me realise I prefer Amsterdam as a city and it being so compact, compared to the more expansive Barca, makes rambling about as a melting mess much easier. The canals and the architecture appeal to me more too as much as I'm enjoying my Gaudi journey. After my recent trips though I'm now much more comfortable with Barca and making my way around and being able to make it between clubs on auto-pilot is so helpful when you're in bits. Also getting to know where eateries, toilet stops, parks etc. are in between your clubs makes for a more enjoyable trip. The park game in Barca is pretty good too, the surrounding hill parks are something the poor lowlands could only dream of :)

Anyway folks, just wanted to throw a few thoughts out there and would like to hear the views of others.


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Re: Spain (Cannabis Clubs) & Netherlands (Coffeeshops) - Compare and Contrast

Post by Basswee »

Good One Ro !

I agree with most of what is said .. Since I live in BCN obviously I prefer it over the Dam and I will more comment on that side.

Cost : No way I could experience the variety I get here at the same cost in the Dam ...I was going to Dam a few times a year to experience some diversity (I was growing) and now I moved here and I don't grow and I supply myself with much more flavours, extracts etc .. So yeah, it's cheaper overall or I wouldn't be able to make it here hehe :D
Even though I will add that you can find clubs here with prices as expensive as the most expensive shops in the Dam, with a bit of organisation you should still find some good spots here ...
Talking about the fees : it can be a problem for sure, especially without being organised. Difficult to find infos on the menu, prices etc .. But be sure your fees can easily be "paid back" if you consider the comparison with touristy-clubs or dam.. One example : get 3g of Zombie Kush at 7 while its at 14 in the center = 21eur saving ;) So organisation is important on that point, i have had countless of people contacting me after trying their way through the streets or some contacts.
Anyone looking for some tips feel free to PM me I live here and do my best to help around. BTW No way you should pay more than 20eur for a good club !

Quality : A lot of growers, breeders, cup events, etc ..who were in UK, NL, IT and much more countries... moved here for the more "relaxed" situation .. So obviously the quality is getting better and better and without doubt now I would say BCN is THE place to be in Europe.
You can find amazing : full melt iceolator (real ones, not the so called fullmelt at 80e from Dam :p ), drysift (static sift), morrocan hash (hash from special farms with special flavours : clementine, santa monica, tangie, barbara, banana,. .. Cup Winners last year and this year .. Of course you can find some of the best herbs in Europe around here . The times of a menu with 3 different critical, amnesia and skunk :p are over :)
I personally focus on the club who have the finest quality and diversity while avoiding the clubs who have always that "similar" stuff grown with less care.

Variety : Again BCN is winning for me .. Much more easy to find the "newest" strain here .. Especially speaking of local grown (now the cali is allover) as some people here are selecting and getting cuts from the last fire strains.
Though some its difficult to find some typical "dutch" strain that you find in Dam (just thinking of Shoreline for exemple ...) It's starting to change since more and more Dutch are coming around here with the cuts .. Also in NL i've realised over the time that some strain were "lost" ..
If we speak of extracts : bho and the whole solventless game : BCN all the way again ! Same for the import hash : best variety here !

Acceptance : NL is more relaxed for the "police" .. But I agree with you Ro, the public acceptance or the culture here is much more positive around cannabis while in NL you have tolerance from authorities. Spain really have that "smoking culture" and this is also part of the reason of the situation and the movement of "smokers clubs association".

Supply Chain : Here I wouldn't say its both on same levels .. It's true that the regulation isn't as far as permitting a real control and protection but there are some grow controlled and checked by the authorities, firemans, etc .. While still illegal to grow such number of plants (still limited on the quantity over year) on a federal level the fact they have autorisation and that they are linked to association protect them !
Also the fact there is more tolerance toward growing for personal and association here gives more comfort to the growers while in NL you get more of that "commercial operation". Also this permit a little more "know about" .. I mean you could meet "your" grower at the club, know how its grown etc .. So it's not a generalization, there are big grow and a lot of clubs do provide themselves on the "market" ..but some have some crew, growers, etc exclusively working with them and in collaboration (cuts, seeds, extractions ...)
Of course all of this is a question of "interpretation" such as "you dont buy cannabis" but provide a "donation" .. In the facts, its money to pay the costs ..but the law and the justice is sometime just a question of words and how you interpret them.

Establishment layout : I would say it really depend on the clubs but I agree that you feel much more at ease and peace in a club than a CS. You'll never feel pressure to move, consume or anything .. Most of clubs will let you bring your own foods and drinks (some arent).
Some clubs have really a family feeling once you stay here more than a few days and visit them regularly .. People call you by name, you make friends and contacts pretty easily especially with the amount of expats living in this city. Also once you have find the good people (call me ;) ) you can find some local clubs willing to make you member without asking you 20eur for memberfees.

City Layout It's the only point with the "acceptance" one where I would say its 50/50 compare to Dam. Especially as a tourist ..
Dam is much more easy to do by walk (you still walk the whole day lol) ... but if you like bicycles in dam then you should love it in BCN : less bikes, pretty easy to travel the whole city with bike lines (most of roads are one way only).
I personally wouldn't be able to live in Dam for a long period, I would get "bored" somehow .. while Barcelona has a lot of Districts to discover, more parks and sightseeing (beach, mountains, ...) . So again if you like to do other things than Coffeeshops : BCN could be more attractive ;) Loads of museums here too, .. Loads of good restaurant, bars, culture, parties being nightlife or more cultural with the "Festa Major" : each district is having a few days celebration with party in the streets which means BCN is in feast the whole year :D I suggest you look out for the one in Gracia, Poble Sec and Sants : 3 districts with a popular, local and familial vibe.
So to end here ..I would say Dam is unique and will stay Dam but for living or more than a 2 days trip I would choose BCN all the way ..



I tried to give maximum of my thoughts and some category are crossing each-other "cost - clubs layout" .. but the idea is there..I prefer BCN you got it but I will just say Dam is unique with the fact you can just walk in and out all over the shops .
Personally with the time passing I must say i dont really care but as a tourist for a short trip this is to be considered
Now i must say something : I have homies living less than 3h from dam and going there every week end and one of them is now here more regularly than in Dam hahahaa :D , seriously : his 4 times this year here will be in 2 weeks ! And thanks to that he doesn't have to go as often to NL (more infos in private lol )

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WLow
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Re: Spain (Cannabis Clubs) & Netherlands (Coffeeshops) - Compare and Contrast

Post by WLow »

I never read all of this, its a testament :mrgreen:

you dont need all that bullshit, find what you want to smoke were you are.
i like amsterdam for restaurants and hail rain :mrgreen:
it's not about the clubs or the coffeeshops, barcelona will never be amsterdam

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RoMoney
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Re: Spain (Cannabis Clubs) & Netherlands (Coffeeshops) - Compare and Contrast

Post by RoMoney »

WLow wrote:
Wed 30th May 2018 10:44 pm
I never read all of this, its a testament :mrgreen:

you dont need all that bullshit, find what you want to smoke were you are.
i like amsterdam for restaurants and hail rain :mrgreen:
it's not about the clubs or the coffeeshops, barcelona will never be amsterdam
A testament to your short attention span! This is a strange post for someone who posts predominately in the Coffeeshop reviews, you seem to be advocating being ok with rubbish weed and not planning ahead? Please clarify, I'm confused why you are on this site so :lol: :mrgreen:

I think it is all about clubs and coffeeshops from a Cannabis scene point of view. Sure Amsterdam will never be Barca, but as the European and global scenes evolve, cross border comparisons are a must. The dispensary model in the US is another model that interests me that I've yet to experience. It not to say that one model is better overall, they obviously all have benefits and drawbacks.

If you have not been to Barca I would encourage you to visit. I don't think anyone could argue that a visit to Barca is a must for all Dam regulars and it would make your CS reviews better when you have something to compare with for vibe, quality, service etc. In fact I would go as far as saying that people who only go the Dam for cannabis tourism have a more limited view of reality as they are comparing many things in isolation.
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Re: Spain (Cannabis Clubs) & Netherlands (Coffeeshops) - Compare and Contrast

Post by DeLekkersteNUGS16 »

Ugh I'm chomping at the bits for Barna (Barca like Dam is a nickname both unused and disliked by locals FYI - only Brits and Yanks use those two unofficial nicknames), really miss living there.

Already trying to scheme ways to be able to reside there part time as my work is very remote friendly and some changes on the landscape have me currently sat at the proverbial bargaining table...

#BarcelonaDreaming

Good write up Ro!

Edit: water quality alone gets Dutch grown a big nod over Spanish grown weed though in the books of quite of few experienced and knowledgeable gardeners I know - to play a bit of devil's advocate here...

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RoMoney
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Re: Spain (Cannabis Clubs) & Netherlands (Coffeeshops) - Compare and Contrast

Post by RoMoney »

DeLekkersteNUGS16 wrote:
Thu 31st May 2018 09:27 am
Ugh I'm chomping at the bits for Barna (Barca like Dam is a nickname both unused and disliked by locals FYI - only Brits and Yanks use those two unofficial nicknames), really miss living there.

Edit: water quality alone gets Dutch grown a big nod over Spanish grown weed though in the books of quite of few experienced and knowledgeable gardeners I know - to play a bit of devil's advocate here...
As a Catalan guy said to me....."why you keep to say Barca, this is the football team, not the city" :mrgreen: So yeah, probably is restricted to use by English speakers.

Hadn't considered the water quality, that's an interesting one. I know from a drinking point of view tap water is ok in Netherlands but generally not in Spain.

I think also I forgot one of the most important points, Dutch chocolate milk is better (as voted for by ACDers) than the Spanish equivalent :lol: :lol:
Bring back Imelda Marcos!

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DeLekkersteNUGS16
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Re: Spain (Cannabis Clubs) & Netherlands (Coffeeshops) - Compare and Contrast

Post by DeLekkersteNUGS16 »

RoMoney wrote:
Thu 31st May 2018 10:44 am
DeLekkersteNUGS16 wrote:
Thu 31st May 2018 09:27 am
Ugh I'm chomping at the bits for Barna (Barca like Dam is a nickname both unused and disliked by locals FYI - only Brits and Yanks use those two unofficial nicknames), really miss living there.

Edit: water quality alone gets Dutch grown a big nod over Spanish grown weed though in the books of quite of few experienced and knowledgeable gardeners I know - to play a bit of devil's advocate here...
As a Catalan guy said to me....."why you keep to say Barca, this is the football team, not the city" :mrgreen: So yeah, probably is restricted to use by English speakers.

Hadn't considered the water quality, that's an interesting one. I know from a drinking point of view tap water is ok in Netherlands but generally not in Spain.

I think also I forgot one of the most important points, Dutch chocolate milk is better (as voted for by ACDers) than the Spanish equivalent :lol: :lol:
I actually think I like Cacaolat or whatever it's called more than chocomel, but both of them can get fucked when standing against the true champion of creamy drinks for the cotton-mouthed king: Chufi (horchata de chufas).

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Re: Spain (Cannabis Clubs) & Netherlands (Coffeeshops) - Compare and Contrast

Post by courtjester »

Excellent read.

If one were to join three or four clubs, which ones would some of you experienced Barca patrons advise?

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Re: Spain (Cannabis Clubs) & Netherlands (Coffeeshops) - Compare and Contrast

Post by Willjay »

Ok I’m old and not hip “Barcelona” is Basra right :lol:

Nice thread comparing the two city’s 8)

I’ve never been to Spain but do believe that the “club” system to cannabis consumption will be the model as opposed to the “coffeeshop” model the Dutch experiment is :mrgreen: mostly because of the strict anti smoking attitude in the world today :D
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Re: Spain (Cannabis Clubs) & Netherlands (Coffeeshops) - Compare and Contrast

Post by KrazeUK »

Great read Ro! Just what I needed to get me in the mood for my first trip.

Will try and add my two cents on this when I’m back. I’m very much an “old school” smoker (mixing weed with tobacco, mid range sativas) so interested to report back on that front.
“Everything is better with a bag of weed.”

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Re: Spain (Cannabis Clubs) & Netherlands (Coffeeshops) - Compare and Contrast

Post by DeLekkersteNUGS16 »

courtjester wrote:
Thu 31st May 2018 03:40 pm
Excellent read.

If one were to join three or four clubs, which ones would some of you experienced Barca patrons advise?
From what I hear: La Kalada, Backyard, The Plug, Terps Army

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Re: Spain (Cannabis Clubs) & Netherlands (Coffeeshops) - Compare and Contrast

Post by OneHighMofo »

Great thread Ro. My quick two-penneth on your salient points from a very limited set of experiences: 1 visit - 2 clubs; Backyard and Terps Army.

Access:
Amsterdam takes the cake here for me. The ability to walk around browsing and shopping is 70% of the experience for me.
So much so that Cannabis tourism in the two cities is almost incomparable to me. Maybe that could change of the annual cost of membership came down to €10-15 which is much more palatable than the €30 I paid.

Cost:
Things do seem to be slightly cheaper. Good quality hash and concentrates are certainly 20-30% cheaper in Barcalona and I'd say the clubs I went to were perhaps 2-4 euro shy of the top-shelf prices in Amsterdam. I think the most expensive flower on Backyards menu were €15 with the lowest coming in at €7. So while things are cheaper - for me the cost of entry to the club still put my bill up there on par with an Amsterdam Coffeeshop experience in terms of cost.

Quality:
During my trip I worked my way through pretty much the entirety of the Backyards menu (about 14 different flowers and 4 BHO's, the only thing I didn't buy was hash) and bought a couple G flowers and 2g concentrates from Terps Army.
The best quality of flower from Backyard was certainly as accomplished as the best quality of flower I've bought in Amsterdam. But it didn't exceed it by any stretch of the imagination. The best I bought there (Terpzilla) I would have rated 8.2 / 8.3 which is as high as I've ever rated anything - bought either commercially or privately.

The BHO (Bhosslady) quality at Backyard was some of the best I've ever bought. But I also bought something at the very bottom of the menu that wasn't very good at all. Similarly at Terps Army where the quality of both the flower and BHO I bought ranged from meh to 'not smoking that'.

So again - I just haven't noticed the quality being that much better in BCN like many have suggested. I'd say that the Backyards flower menu was almost all pretty impressive. at least 10 of the 14 would (and did) warrant repeat purchase they were that good. So perhaps I could say that Backyards menu was more consistently good quality than most AMS coffeeshops.

Variety:
If the two clubs I went to are anything to go by. Amsterdam has a lot of catching up to do in this regard. Hopefully the plug having a location there will inspire others to raise their game. The sheer size of BCN menu's makes some of the more trad shops in AMS look SO tired.

Acceptance:
Don't have enough experience of this to add much of anything, I vaped everywhere I went and only got one odd look from an older toursit (German perhaps?) couple. To be fair to them I hadn't noticed their presence and blew a massive cloud of Isolater smoke into their face (which I'd bizzarely found a couple of decent hits blim in my wallet while looking for a receipt) that must have crossed more borders than is reasonable as I haven't made a batch since before my Morocco trip in 2014!!!

Establishment layout:
Totally agree with all Ro's points here. They're better in almost every way. Especially Terps Army that is large and spacious enough to have fecking Table Tennis and Pool.
EXCEPT. And to me it's kind of a deal-breaker: No windows, no fresh-air, in fact no view of the outside world at all. Which in a city as beautiful as BCN is an absolute crime never mind a crying-shame. I felt kinda trapped in the Backyard - knowing full well the sun was cracking the flags outside. So I felt stuck between a rock and a hard place to some degree.

City layout:
RoMoney wrote:
Fri 18th May 2018 01:30 pm
This is specific to Amsterdam vs Barca, but I think 420 made me realise I prefer Amsterdam as a city and it being so compact, compared to the more expansive Barca, makes rambling about as a melting mess much easier. The canals and the architecture appeal to me more too as much as I'm enjoying my Gaudi journey. The park game in Barca is pretty good too, the surrounding hill parks are something the poor lowlands could only dream of :)
Could not agree more.
Great post dude. Looking forward to seeing how this one evolves.

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Re: Spain (Cannabis Clubs) & Netherlands (Coffeeshops) - Compare and Contrast

Post by LLMReb »

We honeymooned in Barcelona 6 years ago. We had a great time, and I agree that the city has so much to offer. The hilly area is very different than the old town area around the Cathedral and Las Ramblas, which is completely different than the marina/beach.

Great museums (Picasso is a must visit), and architecture (the art nouveau inspired buildings are feasts for the eyes). Bicycling around town is so much fun, too.

Alas, no smoking when I was there (or I didn't have any connections).

Interesting. I can see going back to visit sooner rather than later. But on the whole, we prefer Bilbao. I know no one mentioned Bilbao, but while I'm typing, just saying. :D

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RoMoney
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Re: Spain (Cannabis Clubs) & Netherlands (Coffeeshops) - Compare and Contrast

Post by RoMoney »

A brief update now that I have some experience with a club outside of Barca.

In Tenerife the club will advise you to jock your weeds before leaving (i.e. put it down your pants) and local customers confirmed police do stop people leaving clubs. This did not happen me while I was there but it is a thing there and you will be fined if caught with weed, but nothing more than that.

As for vibe, cost of weed and drinks in the club it was quite similar to Barca.
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Re: Spain (Cannabis Clubs) & Netherlands (Coffeeshops) - Compare and Contrast

Post by horacehorsecollar »

Thanks for this informative insight. As a resident of a dispensary system state in the USA, I am really looking forward to trying both the Amsterdam and the Barcelona Herbs and see the pluses and minuses of the systems... :)

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