Herbania is the ancient name of the subtropical island of Fuerteventura, part of the Spanish archipelago of the Canaries. Warm and windy all year round, it is the second largest of the Canary Islands. With much of its land being desert, it is the least densely populated. Compared to the city of Milan, for instance, its surface area is ten-fold, whilst population density per square metre is one hundred times smaller. The island is an ideal spot for anyone seeking silence and calm. The low tax rates also make it the perfect location for anyone wanting to set up a business. Ventures that are not directly related to tourism, however, struggle to survive. The Cannabis Social Club is one of the most successful businesses of the last few years, becoming standardised on the island in spite of the legal and environmental difficulties. To date, the Spanish cannabis market is not subjected to effective regulation and therefore cannot be considered 100% legal. Whilst the law allows for limited personal cultivation and use in a private space, it criminalises possession in a public place. Exploiting this legal vacuum, since 2006 cannabis clubs have been established throughout Spain.

The clubs are non-profit associations of residents who come together and pay a fee in order for a small group of experts to grow, pick and prepare the product on their behalf. The clubs are private places with restricted access where cannabis can be used freely and participation and collaboration are permitted, just like in the home. Growing cannabis plants on the island of Fuerteventura for three years, I got to know a small part of the world that drives a sizeable economic market, whilst remaining hidden in the shadows. A place inhabited by all sorts of people, of different nationalities and ages, with different backgrounds and motivations. They live on the border of legality and illegality, on the edge of fear, uncertainty, and prejudice. This experience allowed me to broaden my views not only on the topic of drugs, but also on the region and on society. The following images are the result of that experience.