It’s 4./20. I’m most likely in the park, enjoying the spring sunshine, working and toking on a porro.
But I’m not there yet, it’s still the day our Lord rested, three days before the 20th of April.
Arriving back in Barcelona, the weather is the same as in Malta, minus the dust and pollution. The streets of the old city are spiked with the equally pungent smells of urine and weed. The air is filled with the constant trucking sound of skateboards and pings of bicycle bells. Cerveza men (beer sellers) loiter at each Gothic corner. 1 euro cerveza is a bargain whichever way you look at it - as long as you don’t mind your beer can stashed and refrigerated under the street gutters in a bag of ice.
"Weed is tolerated in Barcelona. So much so that there are weed clubs all over the city in which you can acquire and smoke all kinds of fantastically grown marijuana in countless settings."
This city lives in a unique way. The Catalan harbour of vice, cultural-anarchy, tourist sun-and-fun, beaches, mountains, art, street-beers, putas, dogs, boarders, cyclists, independencia, dance, music, architecture - it's a fucking pressure cooker of fun. And at the forefront is The Good Doctor - I won’t give you the real name. Not because I can’t, but because I don’t want you to come here.
Weed is tolerated in Barcelona. So much so that there are weed clubs all over the city in which you may acquire and smoke all kinds of fantastically grown marijuana in countless settings. Something for every stoner.
The bit I do know: every person is allowed to cultivate three plantas de maria in their home. When you sign up to a social club you become a registered member at that address and give them your right to grow your three plants and reap its buds in the club. If caught smoking outside you are fined €12.50 on the spot and have your stash confiscated. Reasonable.
The Good Doctor is a marijuana social club. Tucked in the naughty bits of Raval, behind a closed, frosted-glass, sliding garage door, it took me a while to find a club I felt comfortable in.
Ring the bell and the door slides open. Inside a converted garage, you punch in at reception desk, often manned by a mild-mannered Catalan weight-lifter with a bicep-ring tribal tattoo. Through another door, a DJ at the opposite end of the double height garage greets you with hip-swaying tunes.
"The Good Doctor is a marijuana social club. Tucked in the naughty bits of Raval, and behind a closed, frosted-glass, sliding garage door."
To your left, an array of different seating areas, different sofas and armchairs occupied by a multi-cultural and happy breed of humans - stoners - tribes of polite, excitable, quiet, conversing, card and board game playing, smiling, loving, dancing, creative humans.
The bar is stocked with much munch and drink, coffees and teas - moving along you discover the weed counter, and its bud-tender - my weed enologist. He greets you with a smile and a quick cordial catch-up. Your eyes are darting around all the goodies - comparable only to a Roald Dahlish child’s wonder in a Ye Olde England Sweet Shoppe. The DJ is laying down some head bobbing tunes while I write this - Thank you Dr. DJ.
Once you’re done ogling the sheer diverse abundance of buds, hash and pre-rolled joints, you choose your pleasure. A list of organically-grown plants divided according to type: Sativa or Indica; each plant coming with ratios and prices - much cheaper than in Malta, and obviously the quality is world class. I don’t want to rub it in, but let it simmer.
This article is being typed for different reasons; Primarily, because I believe the drug reform needs to go further. I’m sure my lawyer would agree.
We know the arguments; psychological, criminal, decriminalisation, legalisation, recreation, economic, therapeutic, mind-altering, medicinal, natural, crop, THC, CBD, Hemp, Reefer Madness, gateway, drug, illegal, jail, Daniel Holmes, and M&Ms.
I neither have the background nor the interest in arguing these points, I write as a midnight toker - I like to smoke and work. Fuck it, getting high makes most things enjoyable, just remember not to forget your keys.
Unfortunately most weed consumers in Malta are forced to smoke the equivalent of moonshine; rarely ever good, always expensive and only the asshole who sprayed the plant knows what else - forever at the mercy of the dealers, and the Five-Oh. It’s just a shitty affair all around.
"Make no mistake about it, there is money to be made here."
The police have better things to do than hunt for Willie Nelson-loving stoner gangs. Regulate it and you remove the criminal aspect. The judicial system is inundated, decriminalisation would lighten their load. Let's not talk about incarceration for the “production” of marijuana because that is widely acknowledged as being stupid.
Make no mistake about it, there is money to be made here. Did you read that fatheads? MONEY! Medical research, tourism, production, a whole new industry, a green industry. Let me put it in terms you can understand - we can become the Panama of weed - without all that illegal and secretive shit you swine are into. It even ticks the tourism box you all get off on so much.
Stoners are innately Dudeists - “Hey, nice marmot” - confronting the system can be lost in sofas. I won’t preach to the converted, instead - fatheads there is money to be made! God’s given currency in a green weed that smells of the world, heals in many ways, is cheap and plentiful. Bling bling.
With all the political deflection going on at the moment, Beppe palazzi, the tunnel-people, the 2nd-3rd Party, Simon’s precumming protests, why not throw in another radical social change?
Political gesticulating apart, dramatic changes in Maltese society in recent years (divorce, civil-union, giving Labour a chance), shows a community willing to accept and change. No matter all the horrible stuff the islands are going through right now - the ability to accept and change, even if politically motivated is something to be proud of. And let's face it, a significant number of people smoke on each island, straight, gay, black, pink and brown, hamallu, pepe, hippy, businessman... It cuts through the great divide.
Let’s stop dicking around and take advantage of this.
Here’s to you Malta. Happy 4/20. I’ll be at The Good Doctor.
Did I mention that there is money to be made?