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  • Writer's pictureKyle Holt

Cannabis Cafes Around the World; Legal or No?

coffee sitting next to a cannabis grinder
Cannabis Cafe

- A look at how several countries are treating cannabis establishments which allow for on-site consumption.

America. Land of the free, home of the baked. More and more people will have the opportunity thanks to the first cannabis cafe that has opened in Los Angeles, California. What’s more, as more of these establishments open, the public may be surprised to see that they are not basement-themed dives, but elegantly designed and made comfortable for all.

Thankfully, cafes like this one are likely to spread across the country. Of course, medical cannabis and recreational sales have made similar movements. As ideas show they work in one place, others soon adopt.

For example, a law that recently took effect in colorado has opened the door for a wide range of new cannabis establishments, including cannabis cafes. According to The Denver Post, House Bill 1230 allows for two new types of establishment in Colorado: flower/product tasting rooms and ‘hospitality establishments’ such as tour buses where patrons may consume but not purchase their products. The flower and product tasting rooms can look much like a cannabis cafe where customers can purchase, consume, and relax on the premises.

The bill itself mentions several important points. Most notably:

● The act makes smoking marijuana in the hospitality spaces exempt from the "Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act".

● The act appropriates nearly $400,000 from the marijuana cash fund to the department of revenue for its first fiscal year of implementation.

Of course, the United States isn’t leading the world with its cannabis cafes.

For years, Amsterdam has been known as the cannabis capital of the world where there are hundreds of cannabis cafes open around the city. However, Amsterdam isn’t the only place where you’ll find cannabis cafes in Europe. A new favorite for many people is Barcelona, Spain.

The cannabis cafes put a unique spin on their operational standards, however. While anyone can walk into a cannabis cafe in Amsterdam (pending they are of age), the cafes in Barcelona are technically private clubs. To get in, one would need an invite from a member or from the private club itself.

Some clubs remain exclusive, open only to people who have a direct referral from a member within the club. That member must also show up to vouch for the person they are sponsoring into the club. Other clubs allow potential members to contact them through their websites, Whatsapp, or email in order to receive an invitation. In some instances, clubs have rolling invites available. Others keep their guest registry smaller and only occasionally open the club to new members.

While the United States and European models have shown tight regulations, things don’t operate like that everywhere. In Thailand, for example, there are cities that have long been known as ‘hippie destinations.’ Within these destinations, there are bars, cafes, and small hotels that cater to cannabis-loving tourists. Technically, recreational cannabis remains illegal in Thailand and its consumption should not be taken lightly. However, the cafes and bars in Thailand allow for open consumption (and sales) of cannabis. Allegedly, their existence stems from bribes paid to local law enforcement for ‘protection.’ These claims could not be verified, however, and no Thai police officers should take offense.

In the neighboring country of Cambodia, pizza places and malt shops openly tout their “happy pizzas” and “happy shakes” loaded with cannabis. While cannabis remains illegal in Cambodia, it doesn’t’ seem like many people—including the business owners along the main roads—care.

Has this article helped you better understand cannabis cafes around the world? Let us know if you have any questions in the comment section!

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