Barcelona's Pot Boom and Bust

The uncertain fate of cannabis clubs in "the Amsterdam of southern Europe"

It was 7 p.m. on July 10, 2014. Albert Centellas was smoking a joint in the spacious lounge of Club Kali, a quasi-legal cannabis club an hour's drive south of Barcelona. He heard a loud bang, like a thunderclap, and then another. The police were breaking down the door.

Dozens of officers in riot gear rushed in, guns drawn, and ordered everyone to stand with their hands above their heads while the remaining cops, aided by drug-sniffing dogs, searched the club. Centellas' arms ached as he and the others were held at gunpoint for the next two hours. The search ended with the seizure of all the club's marijuana products, and with the arrest of the club's president, vice president, treasurer, doorman, and two of its cannabis gardeners, on charges of money laundering and crimes against public health....

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