If you want to avoid legal problems related to drug use, it is important to know a little about what the law in Catalonia says regarding drugs.
About legal drugs
Alcohol and tobacco are the most widely consumed drugs. As they are legal substances, their production, sale and consumption are not prohibited, although they are subject to certain restrictions:
- The sale of tobacco to children under 18 years of age is prohibited.
- Smoking is not allowed in areas that are not outdoors, including bars, restaurants and other establishments.
- Smoking is not allowed in playgrounds, schools and hospitals (the prohibition includes outdoor and indoor locations at these sites). For more information, please see the new Tobacco Act, in force since 2 January 2011.
- The sale or supply of alcoholic beverages of any kind to people under 18 years of age is not allowed.
- Vehicle drivers in general, including cyclists, must not drive if their blood alcohol level exceeds 0.5 grams per litre (0.25 milligrams per litre of air exhaled). This figure rate is reduced to 0.3 grams per litre in the blood (0.15 milligrams per litre of air exhaled) for the drivers of certain vehicles (passenger transport for more than nine people, emergency services, special transport, transport of goods with a maximum authorised weight exceeding 3500 kg and drivers who have held a driving licence for less than two years).
- It is a criminal offence to drive under the influence of alcohol, if the blood alcohol level exceeds 1.2 grams per litre (0.6 milligrams per litre of air exhaled).
About illegal drugs
Spanish Justice treats the substances listed in international agreements, such as the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as banned or controlled. They include most illegal drugs: cocaine, LSD, heroin, cannabis, ecstasy, etc. The Criminal Code considers it a criminal offence to develop, produce, or sell any of the substances included on these lists, or engage in any activity designed to encourage their consumption. In the case of trafficking, the Criminal Code makes a distinction between substances that cause serious damage to health and other substances that the law considers are not so harmful.
Consuming or possessing small amounts of drugs for personal use is not a crime. But, how is this amount determined? In the event of a court case, consideration is normally given to aspects such as the quantity of the drug and whether the person is a regular consumer or not, as well as the existence of a previous record of drug trafficking. Nevertheless the consumption of drugs in the street, public places or public buildings is always against the law. This offence is subject to fines ranging from 300 to 30,000 euros, according to the seriousness of the case.