Cannabis social clubs (CSC's) in Belgium

Research Period

1 January 2014 – 31 December 2015




Prof. Dr. Tom DECORTE

Key Words

cannabis social clubs, drug markets, cannabis supply, cannabis policy, Belgium


Cannabis Social Clubs (CSC) are non-profit organizations that produce cannabis collectively for distribution to adult members to meet their personal needs. The clubs follow a number of procedures to guarantee the quality of the cannabis they produce. They want to offer a safe alternative to the black market . Inspired by the Spanish model, Belgian activists take advantage of a grey area in the Belgian drug legislation (Ministerial Circular of 2005). The first Belgian CSC, Trekt Uw Plant, was set up in Antwerp in 2006. In 2013, there were five CSCs in Belgium. The phenomenon is constantly spreading, but little is known about it. This exploratory study wants to describe the organization and the daily routine of the Belgian clubs , as well as the social responses to this phenomenon in Belgium by interviewing the five CSCs.



This research seeks the following four objectives to pursue.
1 . To describe the structure and organization of a CSC in Belgium
2 . To describe the internal functioning of the five CSCs in Belgium .
3 . To reflect the social reactions of the police, the judiciary, the media and the criminal environment on the phenomenon of cannabis social club .
4 . To analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the CSC model.



1 . Qualitative interviews with the members of the board of directors of each CSC in Belgium, by using a topic list.
2 . An analysis of both the internal documents and the official websites of the clubs. Additionally , an analysis of the Dutch and French media reports on the clubs.


  • DECORTE, T. & PARDAL, M. (2016). Cannabis Social Clubs in Europe: Prospects and Limits. In: Colson, R., Bergeron, H., European Drug Policies: the ways of reform. Oxford: Routledge.
  • DECORTE, T. (2014). De Belgische Cannabis Social Clubs: Middenweg tussen zwarte markt en commerciële beschikbaarheid?, Panopticon, 35(6), 520-537.
  • DECORTE, T. (2014). Cannabis Social Clubs? (CSCs) in Belgium: Organizational strengths and weaknesses, and threats to the model. International Journal of Drug Policy (DOI:
  • DECORTE, T. (2014). Cannabis social clubs: recent developments. Paper presented at the 8th Annual conference of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy (ISSDP), Rome (Italy), 21-23 May 2014.