ruling greenfarm growing marijuana

A Judge Acquits the President of the Cannabis Association 'Greenfarm', Accused of Crimes against Public Health for Growing Marijuana

  • Andoni Azcarraga Luaces, the president of the association that is based in Eibar, ‘Greenfarm’ (Association of Medicinal and Recreational Cannabis Users in the Basque Country, Spain), has been acquitted by a judge in San Sebastian. He had been accused of a purported crime against public health for growing marijuana plants to be consumed by the group’s members. We have the complete case ruling.  
ruling greenfarm growing marijuana

The ruling for the president of the cannabis association "Greenfarm", Andoni Azcarraga Luaces, made a few weeks ago, has found him to be innocent after he was accused of a crime against public health for growing 611 marijuana plants. Following the hearing that took place on 16 September 2014, the judge deemed that the accusation is insufficient to prove that the marijuana plant was in any way illegal.

The case against the president of the association of marijuana users began in October 2012, when agents from the Basque police force, the Ertzaintza found out about the existence of a plantation in nine greenhouses and they then proceeded to seize the cannabis plants. The officer of the public prosecutor in Gipuzkoa demanded a sentence of one and a half years in prison and a fine of €20,000. Ultimately, Luaces will not face these punishments.

On one hand, the association (that was set up in 2009 in accordance with operating regulations) asserts in its statutes that its intention is to provide cannabis users−both therapeutic and recreational−with access to responsible, controlled and legal use and always on an individual basis. All of this is intended to comply with the law and to value a culture, such as cannabis which is "positive, responsible and enriching".

Additionally, in its statutes the association also outlines that the recipients of this crop could only be individuals having identified themselves as users before coming members. Alternatively, they could be people diagnosed with an illness that required medicinal marijuana based treatment. All of this was meant to ensuring that members do not promote indiscriminate consumption from third parties.

The judge found no motives to believe that the consumption of that cannabis went beyond what was outlined. Therefore, the judge determined that a case such as Greenfarm does not entail a risk for people who do not consume marijuana on a regular basis, as in this case, the growing and consumption of the plant all took place within the group.

On the other hand, José Echeverría declared that he was the owner of the place where the greenhouses were found, and he admitted to having rented them so that the association could grow marijuana destined for its members. This marijuana growing, in accordance with established guidelines, was supervised by collaborating members who agreed to take their share of the crop once a month or every three or six months.

Additionally, the 384 members of the association provided financial support for the crop. According to the ruling, the cannabis plants were solely and directly destined for consumption by members, and they did not provide any economic compensation (aside from their contributions towards costs).

As regards to the size of the plantation, with 611 plants, in the ruling the judge deemed that it was a reasonable size to supply all of the members registered with the association.

Furthermore, the consumption took place at the headquarters of Greenfarm or in the private residences of each user, and Greenfarm adhered to regulations that prevent dispensing more than 2 grams per day (or 60 grams per month) to each member. In view of this limitation, Greenfarm's crop did not go beyond the necessary size required to provide a sufficient supply to all of its members.

'Greenfarm' even had an expert who was in charge of measuring the predicted cannabis crop that would be necessary, and such forecast was correct. As it was not possible to prove any accusations of illegality, and in virtue of his presumption of innocence, the accused was acquitted of all charges.

You can download the complete ruling from the case here.


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