Marijuana Media: Cannabis Social Clubs coming to Germany, Australia, the Cook Islands – and Auckland?


This week at The Hempstore we hosted a substance checking clinic by the NZ Drug Foundation, so we began the show with a quick reminder of that testing your stash is now legal, free and completely confidential. Using the service or the result cannot be used to search you, arrest you or prosecute you. These protections are built into the law. We’ve hosted these clinics for several years and not had any issues. Find your next one here. Now on with the show, and gosh this past week was a good one for cannabis!


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Luxembourg legalises possession and home growing

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Good news from everyone’s favourite principality tax haven, where lawmakers have voted 38-22 to legalise home growing and possession. Adults will be allowed to cultivate up to 4 plants in a private place.

Following Malta in 2021, Luxembourg becomes the second EU country to legally legalise cannabis (ie, change the law, not just the practise). However, Malta has also established a framework for Cannabis Social Clubs. These are private non-profit places for members to communally grow and consume. Think of them as RSAs for cannabis.

CSCs originated in Spain where there are now hundreds under their decriminalised approach to cannabis. The CSC model complies with EU law, which currently prohibits member countries from creating a legal market for cannabis. The model is spreading – and may come to Aotearoa New Zealand, soon!

Euro-style Cannabis Social Clubs coming to Germany

Confirmation this week the left-green governing coalition in Germany is pushing forward with plans to legalise cannabis – based on the club model.

Initially they aimed to establish a legal market for selling cannabis, but because of EU law they now propose a ‘lighter’ legalisation focussed on personal use, home growing, and Cannabis Social Clubs.

A draft law is expected to be introduced next month. Germany also proposes to run a pilot program for the sale of adult-use cannabis in certain cities at a later stage. The Czech Republic has already said it will copy Germany’s new law. Outside the EU, in 2013 Uruguay adopted a Cannabis Social Club model for growing and sharing crops.

Oz Legalise Cannabis pushing for Cannabis Social Clubs

Closer to home, Legalise Cannabis Victoria upper house MP David Ettershank told website Cannabiz this week the party has drawn up plans for Cannabis Social Clubs, where members who are unable or unwilling to grow their own will entrust farmers to grow for them.

It is the second plank of the Party’s three-step plan to legalise adult use cannabis across the lucky country. The first step was legislation simultaneously introducing bills in three states – Victoria, NSW and Western Australia – to allow the use and possession of small quantities of the herb.

Titled “Regulation of Personal Adult Use of Cannabis Bill 2023”, if passed adults would be legally able to possess up to 50 grams for personal use, grow up to six plants, and gift cannabis to another adult. Legalise Cannabis MPs haven’t ruled out blocking key government bills to gain support for their legislation.

The third step is to create a regulated market for cannabis products. Australia’s Federal Budget Office previously estimated the plan to legalise cannabis could bring in billions of dollars in tax revenue, in a report commissioned by The Greens.

Last month quoted Legalise Cannabis Party NSW MP Jeremy Buckingham, a former Greens MP, saying it was the nation’s first “co-ordinated approach to legalise cannabis”.

Cook Islands looks to patient co-op/club model for local medicinal cannabis

Following a successful referendum last year, Aotearoa’s close Pacific neighbour the Cook Islands is legalising medicinal cannabis. Recently, I met with a delegation from the Cook Islands government who had visited Aotearoa to learn from our experience.

They’re considering a homegrown approach, with a non-profit cooperative model, to keep costs down and make it accessible to the wider population – including retirees who get a pension of only $100/week.

This would be like a medical version of the Cannabis Social Clubs proposed in Europe and Australia. It’s also like the CHOISE model I proposed for New Zealand’s cannabis referendum, so no surprises I think it’s an excellent approach; prioritising and protecting consumers while avoiding over-commercialisation.

Huge news! Auckland may get Medicinal Cannabis Social Club & Cannabis Museum

Plans have been announced for a medicinal Cannabis Social Club and museum in Tāmaki Makaurau. It’s not just legally possible, it would be completely legal.

For medical, anyway. In New Zealand medicinal cannabis may be prescribed by any doctor, for any reason, to any person. In terms of how or where it may be used by patients, legally prescribed cannabis is no different to paracetamol or other medications – none of anyone else’s business – and any place allowing them to ‘use’ their prescribed medicinal cannabis would not be in breach of the law that prohibits drug use on premises.

Abe Grey of Whakamana Cannabis Museum (ex-Dunedin) announced the plans on social media this week. I think it would be a game-changer for cannabis de-stigmatisation and law reform in Aotearoa New Zealand.


The venue is sumptuous and in a great inner-city location, but it won’t come cheap. The club will need patrons and members. Abe is planning a fundraiser at the new venue on 12 August.

Why it matters: Endo sufferer in constant pain until she tried medicinal cannabis

Capsule NZ, a Stuff brand, covered the story of Jess Sandoval, the founder of Endo Warriors, who has experienced depression, PCOS, IBS and PTSD, all related to her condition and the accompanying severe pain she found herself in every day, but who has now found relief through medicinal cannabis.

Jess is realistic and knows cannabis is not a miracle cure for everything, but for her it was what she describes as a “game changer”. Once she found the right dosage and combination, Jess’ quality of life has improved by “leaps and bounds”. Jess is no longer using a walking frame or cane and has stopped taking Tramadol. Read the full story at including frequently asked questions with Cannabis Clinic NZ’s Dr Clare Halford.

Grannie Herald compiles medicinal cannabis ‘power list’

Under the headline “Who’s got the rub of the green?” [paywalled], NZ Herald tech and business writer Chris Keall compiled a power list of who he says are the most influential players (“the dope dozen, if you will”), which reveals while some are starting to realise the potential of the sector, there are still some handbrakes.

Tellingly, regulators and politicians are among the most influential, with the Minister of Health ranked No. 1, the chief regulator at Medsafe, Chris James, at number three, Chloe Swarbrick at four, chair of General Practice NZ (Dr Bryan Betty) ranked fifth-most influential in the country, followed by the CEO of Pharmac at six.

Helius is represented by investor Guy Haddleton ranked second most powerful, CEO Carmen Doran ranked ninth, and their sub-contractor growers Puro at seven. Cannasouth CEO Mark Lucas was ranked No. 8 with Rua founders Manu Caddie and Panapa Ehau joint 10th. No sign of Medleaf or Nubu, who supply the bulk of cannabis flower used by Kiwi patients.

Big Cannabis goes to Berlin

NZX-listed Rua Biosciences and Cannasouth, plus Helius and Puro were in Germany with NZTE officials at the ICBC canna-business conference, with Carmen Doran of Helius telling an investor forum that NZ cannabis companies, which collectively have lost over $200 million so far, are “undervalued”.

Connecticuters can now start growing!

As of last Saturday, adults aged over 21 in the Nutmeg State can grow 6 cannabis plants, 3 of which can be mature, for personal use. NORML reports the cannabis legalisation law there that is being implemented allowed medical users to grow first, from October 2021, and now that right has been extended to all adults.

Officials urged growers to use “safe and healthy” gardening practises and store the harvest in child-proof containers. Gardens must be indoors, out of public view, and secure from children and pets. That’s the type of sound advice that can be given when cannabis is made legal.

Coming up


Marijuana Media airs every Thursday at 4:20pm on 95bFM, with your hosts bFM Drive’s Jonny and Corey with Chris Fowlie from The Hempstore. Stream or download the pot-cast for this show here or hundreds of previous Marijuana Media shows at (or via iTunes / RSS feed). Thanks to The Hemp Store!



  1. Chris – Wonderful news for Germany, Cook Islands, and Australia — not sure the Auckland club would not be targeted by the Police, like other types of Cannabis clubs within NZ

  2. Despite not using weed, I voted to legalize it in the referendum.
    I almost didn’t, but not because I don’t think it should be legalized but rather because the current government is so grossly incompetent that I didn’t trust them to get the underlying legislation right.
    Fast forward to now, given that their incompetence is far far worse than I believed at the time, I would vote NO if the referendum were to be held again.
    I think people should be free to smoke or inject whatever the hell they want, but also that in doing so they should not be able to harm others as a consequence.
    This government can’t (or won’t) stop people from killing dairy owners, so I have ZERO belief that they could stop weed users harming others.

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