The world of Cannabis Culture is growing, it’s international and every day more and more niche groups are growing outside of the traditional “smoke weed at home and watch Netflix”.
The most famous and well known of the Cannabis Culture hubs is the Weed Cafe. These originated in Amsterdam, the Netherlands since the mid-1970s.
Cannabis products are openly sold and distributed for eating, drinking and smoking in weed cafes (coffeeshops) and public possession of up to 5 grams for recreation use is allowed(decriminalised).
With a comfortable atmosphere, a wide range of quality and safe cannabis products, these weed cafes have become extremely popular to all adult age groups. The growing stigma behind alcohol and tobacco has made these cafes the fun and healthier alternative to a night out.
In this article, we will be exploring The Good, The Bad and The Ugly examples of weed cafes that have a stronger focus on the culture and how people are treating these cafes rather than just the weed products sold.
California is one of the many USA states that have legalised marijuana for recreational use over the past few years and there has been a massive Cannabis Cultural boom. Californians and tourists are celebrating this new Cannabis Goldrush that has allowed for the easy and safe recreational use of weed. New forms of Cannabis have become available, from oils to edibles and higher quality control around the cultivation of marijuana plants.
Since California’s legalisation of marijuana in late 2016, they have opened dispensaries and online stores to easily buy and use weed, but only now in October of 2019 has the first California Weed Cafe opened.
The Lowell Cafe in West Hollywood, California has opened and allows for customers to “eat, drink & smoke cannabis”. From Salads To Sandwiches to Sweets, Coffees and Milkshakes, everything comes with a Cannabis Twist. Checkout Their Menu Here!.
The Cafe is backed by celebrities including Miley Cyrus and Chris Rock and pulls all kinds of customers from Chinese Tourists to Business People and Local Californians celebrating the legalisation of marijuana.
The culture around Cannabis in California is 10 steps ahead. Rather than looking at failed drug laws and public perception of weed built around propaganda since 1982, Americans are looking at the future of fun and safer ways of enjoying weed with friends and family. Its a celebration of freedom and no longer do people have to hide behind closed doors to enjoy cannabis.
The Good part of these Cannabis Cafes in certain American states is the ability to research, the ability to experience, and the ability to offer a safer alternative to people already consuming Cannabis Goods.
Britain is similar to Australia with its strict legislation on Cannabis while still having a society that widely recognises Cannabis as a drug that should not only be decriminalised, but made available recreationally for everyday people.
Since joining the European Union, British people have enjoyed free travel to France, Germany, Spain, but the most popular location is a weekend away to the Netherlands. A flight from London to Amsterdam is typically 1 hour and 15 minutes away. This is where legal weed is available at Cannabis friendly cafes (coffeeshops).
A growing frustration around society accepting the use of Cannabis and it being an hour away and a little over $100 AUD to get there in Amsterdam, but not available in Britain unless you buy it illegally. This has created what is called “Underground Weed Cafes” or “British Coffeeshops” where you join a club, they check your ID to make sure you’re an adult, and possibly to remind you that they know who you are, and you get a taste of Cannabis freedom that many countries enjoy.
Once inside these Cannabis Coffeeshop Clubs people are able to eat, smoke and drink weed products. It ranges from 20 to 70-year-olds and focuses on giving everyone a taste of marijuana freedom that is available just across the pond.
These Cannabis Clubs aren’t publicly available, as they are illegal under current UK law. They focus on exclusivity with trusted locals being members and only exist due to the locals widely accepting both the use of Cannabis and a complete understanding that it does not have a negative effect to society, unlike other harder drugs.
The Bad part of these British Cannabis Coffee clubs is that people have already accepted Cannabis as a better alternative to alcohol and other drugs, they have experienced the safe legalised distribution of Marijuana in The Netherlands and the need to hide these cafes due to current UK laws.
Cannabis in Australia is illegal in 2019, but we have made steps towards legalisation with Medicinal Marijuana being made legal in 2016 and a bill has been pushed through in 2019 that is allowing the personal use and cultivation of Cannabis to be decriminalised in Canberra, ACT.
Australians are very familiar with the use of Cannabis with 1 out of 4 people have admitted to the use of weed at least once in the lifetimes. People talk openly about the use of it, national surveys have majority opinions showing that it should be decriminalised, but our understand of cannabis is lacking.
But outside of this, within Nimbin, Australia, we have a weed haven that has cafes and festivals promoting cannabis consumption and culture. Driving north from Sydney or South from Brisbane, you will find a long coast of beaches and lush green fields. Everywhere looks normal until you reach the hills that lead to Nimbin.
A mix of LGBT, Cannabis and Aboriginal culture lays the weed-filled town of Nimbin. A place where you can buy Cannabis openly, sit down with a beer and roll a joint and hear in the distance “joints for 5 dollars” as you take a sip and a puff.
Though we may not have Amsterdam and the Coffeeshops our British cousins have, Australians and their love for Cannabis have formed a Cannabis Cultural hub that gives tourists and locals a taste of weed freedom that soon to come to Australia.
Outside of this freedom is the monthly protests against police harassment and constant “pot raids” that have locals up in arms. Left alone there are crowds of people camping laughing, singing and dancing every day, But Nimbin has suffered more and more the past decade as distant laws have encouraged police to raid, to harras and to remind this peaceful town of Cannabis Freedom that “big brother is watching”.
The Ugly part of the closest thing Australia has to weed cafes is that it’s limited to a small region far away from the majority of everyday Australians. Rather than an hour’s flight like the British has, Australians have to travel up to 12 hours by plane and car to get a small taste of the future Cannabis Freedom that is hopefully coming in the next few years.
James is an experienced writer and legal cannabis advocate in Australia. He answers all the questions about business, legalisation and medicinal cannabis.
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