En su último paso para intentar solventar un vacío legal, las autoridades municipales han ordenado el cierre de 49 clubes de cannabis en Barcelona. Más información, en inglés, está disponible abajo.

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No smoke without fire? Some cannabis clubs have been accused of 'stepping over the line' into illegal dealing. Lluis Gene/AFP

City authorities ordered the closure of 49 cannabis clubs in Barcelona on Wednesday, the latest move to tighten a legal loophole that has given the city a global reputation as a 'pothead's paradise'.

Barcelona City Hall ordered the closures after an inspection of 145 cannabis clubs found a number with "deficiencies in their functioning and problems of coexistence with neighbours", it said in a statement.

Dealing in cannabis is illegal in Spain but the law does not prohibit growing it for private consumption. It also allows the existence of smokers' associations or cannabis clubs.

Club members pay an annual subscription fee plus a variable fee to cover the cost of producing the cannabis they consume.

Some clubs are suspected of stepping over the line, however, venturing beyond their non-profit association activities into full-blown drug-dealing.

Local authorities, concerned by their growth, imposed a moratorium last year on associations opening premises for smoking the drug.

Following the closures on Wednesday, the Catalan federation of cannabis associations, CatFAC, appealed for dialogue between the authorities and the clubs.

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