The FCA started operating in 1990 and was officially established in 1991. Its purpose is to influence the Finnish legislation so that adults could legally use, obtain and cultivate cannabis for personal use. The FCA also studies the use of cannabis in different cultures during different times.
Despite its young age, the association has quickly managed to get a foothold in the Finnish discussion about recreational drugs, which has formerly been dominated by policemen and parental pro-criminalization organizations. The opinions of the FCA are nowadays more and more commonly requested and members of the association are invited to all kinds of events. Besides taking part in the discussion, the FCA engages in many other activities. It publishes a magazine called Hamppu (the Finnish word meaning hemp), arranges parties, excursions and social evenings for its members, takes positions in drug policy-related matters, arranges panel discussions and other kinds of events. It also carries out research and publishing activities in cannabis-related matters. In addition to that, the meetings of the association have become an unofficial discussion forum for people interested in hemp cultivation.
However, all instances have not approved of the FCA. Among others, the Finnish Ministry of Justice and some members of Parliament have opened the operation of the association to question. In 1991 the members of Parliament who represent SMP(a Finnish populist party) attacked the association by making an inquiry about the legality of the operation of the association to the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry of the Interior, which carried out the inspection, stated that "the association has not operated fundamentally against the law or good customs". In 1993, the association register office maintained by the Ministry of Justice rejected the registration application submitted by FCA in 1991. The ministry interpreted the purpose of the FCA as "being against good customs so that the expressed purpose is contrary to the views about justice and morality prevailing in our society". The association appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court. The Court ratified the rejecting decision of the association register office with slightly different arguments. In its decision the Supreme Administrative Court admitted that the aim to change the existing legislation and the views prevailing in the society is not against good customs per se, but added that the purpose includes an intention to assist in spreading an unhealthy habit.
However, the FCA continues operating, for the time being as an unregistered association, and has appealed to the European human rights organs about the decision of the Finnish Ministry of Justice.