Exploring Cannabis Culture: Edinburgh

“The view of Edinburgh from the road before you enter Leith is quite enchanting: it is… fairy-like and what you would only imagine as a thing to dream of, or to see in a picture” – Queen Victoria of England. 

Next up in our cannabis culture articles, we’re heading over to the highlands: Scotland. Deep in the green hills of Scotland sits one of the greatest cities in the world, and its capital, Edinburgh. Say it with a Scottish accent and it sounds even better. Scotland has amazing food, amazing people, even amazing kilts, but what’s the cannabis culture like over there? Scotland may be part of the UK (for now), but does it allow for more accepting cannabis laws? Today we’re going to delve into the cannabis culture of Edinburgh and find out for ourselves. This place is a truly beautiful one. Let’s take a look. 

Cannabis is gaining popularity across the globe. In Europe, the laws are still a bit stricter than in the United States, but in many regions, recreational marijuana use is quickly becoming the new norm. To learn more about changing regulations and emerging trends, make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter, your hub for all things cannabis-related, including more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other legal products. And save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10THCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!


Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the capital city of the nation of Scotland, and has a modest population of half a million. Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, which also includes England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Full of green mountains, fields, insanely good whisky, great comedy and cool-looking dresses (kilts), this country is a proud one. Edinburgh, specifically, is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK, and perhaps Europe too. Since the 1707 Acts of Union, Scotland has shared legislation with the rest of the UK and is governed by the same government. That means Scotland is not independent (despite the fact that the population are often calling for a referendum of independence). Their last referendum in 2014 was 45/55% in favour of staying, which means almost half of the country desires to be an independent nation. Nonetheless, Scottish laws are still made in Scotland, and they do have some autonomy. However, England has lots of influence on Scotland. Which does sound a bit bizarre, doesn’t it? This means, as you can imagine, that the cannabis laws in Scotland are very similar to that of England. But maybe there are some differences. But first of all, let’s delve deeper into the beautiful city of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 

As the Scottish Poet, Tobias Smollett, said himself: “Edinburgh is a hotbed of genius”

Founded in 1947, the Edinburgh fringe festival is a festival of theatre, comedy and music that occurs every year. Well, it did, until covid-19 had its say. Thanks again to the coronavirus! The festival occurs every August in the centre of Edinburgh and has birthed some of the greatest comedy acts of all time: including Tim Minchin and the Mighty Boosh. One of the greatest spectacles of the fringe festival is the royal mile, which is a mile-long street where performers come to hand out fliers to potential audience members. It’s quite an extraordinary sight and it’s always packed. Not only do liberal theatre goers fill the streets of Edinburgh during the festival, but the night life also becomes rather magical. You won’t be surprised to smell the scent of whisky on people’s breath, and the hum of cannabis floating in the air. 

Whisky 

Scottish whisky dates back over 500 years ago. Blimey, the whiskey, It is incredible. Edinburgh was not only the birthplace of whisky, but it also has the most variety of any place in the world. Whisky is an acquired taste, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll fit right into the Scottish lifestyle; because, the scots…they can definitely drink. 

Pies

Scottish pies are unlike anything you’ll have seen before, and they’re an integral part of Edinburgh food. Pie shops are everywhere and there’s practically nothing that they haven’t thought to put in them. Scottish pies don’t reach the cannibalistic levels of Sweeney Todd, but it isn’t far off. Think of any vegetable or any meat, and they probably have a pie containing it. Plus, not to mention, these pies are absolutely delicious. 

Arthur’s Seat

The mountain ranges in Scotland are incomparable, and Edinburgh is the city that has some of Scotland’s best. Just a short walk from the main city sits Arthur’s seat; an old volcano. Arthur’s seat reaches 251 M in height. This walk takes around 2 hours and journeys along a great big mountain, eventually leading to quite a spectacular view. Grabbing a few beers, perhaps some of mother nature’s herb and going for a stroll up Arthur’s Seat is an absolute must. 

The Drug Class System

In the UK there are three classes of drugs, which dictate how serious the drug is and how seriously the law will prosecute you if you’re found in possession, cultivating it, or selling it. 

Class A 

  • Drugs in this class include: heroin, cocaine and LSD.  
  • Sentence: up to 7 years in prison and an unlimited fine. 

Class B

  • Drugs in this class include: speed, cannabis and ketamine.
  • Sentence: up to 5 years in prison and an unlimited fine.

Class C

  • Drugs in this class include: valium and prescription tranquillizers. 
  • Sentence: up to 2 years in prison and unlimited fine. 

Cannabis in Edinburgh 

As mentioned earlier, whilst Scotland is its own nation, it shares lots of laws with the entire UK. Because of this, from a legal perspective, drugs are dealt with much the same as in London or any other city in the United Kingdom. However, as we know, culture isn’t always about laws, it’s about the people. Nonetheless, recreational cannabis is currently illegal in Scotland and thus in Edinburgh. However, Scotland is known to be on the more liberal side of the United Kingdom, which is often why they fight for independence. Scotland often feels like its being dragged down by England’s right wing policies. Therefore, if any country in the UK is going to push for cannabis legalisation, it wouldn’t be surprising if it was Scotland. In fact, a recent poll suggested that 47% of Scots would support cannabis legalization. But let’s get down to the specifics. 

What’s Illegal?

The cannabis plant being used for recreational (enjoyment) purposes is illegal in Scotland. As it stands, any product that contains more than 0.2 THC % is illegal. In addition, CBD flowers, which do not exceed this limit, are also illegal. This is because the government are not fond of the cannabis plant being used for recreational purposes; especially in its bud form. Nicola Sturgeon, who is the leader of the Scottish National Party and leads the Scottish government, does not believe that cannabis should be legalised recreationally, but does understand its importance medically. 

What’s Legal?

That’s not to say that no part of the cannabis plant is legal in the UK, and in Edinburgh. In fact, medical cannabis was legalised in the UK in November 2018. Doctors can now prescribe it in situations they seem fit. Unfortunately, only one product, which helps treat forms of epilepsy, is available on the NHS in Scotland. Any other cannabis based medicine is only available from private doctors, which of course leads to extortionate prescription prices. 

Although it is likely that medical cannabis will become cheaper and more easily accessible in the near future due to support from Nicola Sturgeon

“Cannabis is not a harmless substance. I am not in favour of general decrimalisation but I do think there is a specific case for medical use” 

Not only that, but CBD products are easily purchasable in Edinburgh. CBD is a legal cannabinoid, which is one of the hundred other cannabinoids within the cannabis plant. Therefore, whilst Scotland isn’t competing with the likes of Barcelona or Amsterdam, they are still showing signs of progress. Perhaps with independence they may be able to make quicker progress. 

The City’s General Attitude to Cannabis 

Laws are one thing, but the people on the streets are a completely different ball game. Edinburgh is a very friendly city, and the people are open to weed consumption. If you’re found with anything below 5 grams on you, the police will usually assume that it’s for personal use and they won’t prosecute you. So what do the people of Edinburgh think of cannabis, and how ingrained is it into society? 

Cannabis Cafes

Cannabis cafes are known to be becoming more popular in Edinburgh. Of course this doesn’t include any substance that contains more than 0.2% THC, so it’s mostly CBD products. These include edibles, coffees, and other products. Some even sell hemp coffee, which sounds pretty tasty. Whilst Edinburgh hasn’t got the same coffeeshop culture as Amsterdam, it’s beginning to create its own version. 

Cannabis Prices

Cannabis bought from street-dealers in Edinburgh can be cheaper than the rest of Europe. However, this obviously depends on which strain you’re trying to purchase. If you’re looking for cali weed then chances are it will be the same prices as elsewhere. The prices for a high-grade, good quality bud can start at 7 euros per gram (Remember that in Scotland, they use the Euro currency rather than the Sterling). It’s even cheaper in regards to hash, with some grams costing 6 euros. These prices are an absolute steal. It also highlights how popular cannabis must be that dealers are able to lower their prices to that level. 

Nightlife 

The nightlife in Edinburgh is insanely vibrant. It also lends itself to the cannabis enthusiasts out there. Whilst there is a big drinking culture in Scotland, they also cater for the cannabis lovers out there too. Lots of Edinburgh clubs and bars are extremely colourful, liberal and artistic – which definitely lends itself to those feeling the effects of cannabis. Sneaky Pete’s and Boteco De Brasil are two locations that any weed-smoker has got to experience high. In addition, the University of Edinburgh takes in around 35,000 students per year, which adds to the bustling and vibrant city atmosphere. Many of these students will also enjoy cannabis whilst they study. It’s almost a right of passage for every UK university student to buy a gram of cannabis and watch the entirety of David Attenborough’s Planet Earth. 

Conclusion

There you have it: Edinburgh and its cannabis culture. As you can see, Edinburgh is perhaps held back slightly by the stagnant cannabis laws of England, but they’ve still created their own cannabis scene which competes with that of any European city. Some may argue that if Scotland became independent, Edinburgh could one day become the new Amsterdam – with a huge coffeeshop culture. But who knows? One thing is for certain, if you’re a weed-enthusiast, a trip to Edinburgh is a must.

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Exploring Cannabis Culture: Berlin

‘All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin. And therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words, ‘Ich bin ein Berliner!’ – John F. Kennedy

In the latest article in our series on cannabis culture around the world, we’ll be flying over to Berlin. As you may know, we define cannabis culture as the way that cannabis can be perceived and treated within a society, city or country.’  Of course this doesn’t just mean Cannabis alone, but also includes all of the separate cannabinoids that we find in the Cannabis plant – CBD and THC for example – So polish of your lederhosen, find your 99 red balloons and prepare to ‘sprechen sie deutsch‘ as we jet over to the capital city of Germany and investigate the weed culture in Berlin.

Cannabis is gaining popularity across the globe. In Europe, the laws are still a bit more strict than in the United States, but in many regions, recreational marijuana use is quickly becoming the new norm. To learn more about changing regulations and emerging trends, make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter, your hub for all things cannabis-related, including more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other legal products.

For the best Delta 8Delta 10THC-PTHC-OTHCVHHC and even Delta 9 products subscribe to the Delta 8 Weekly newsletter.


Berlin 

Berlin is located on the river Spree in the North East of Germany. A large city, with a lot of history, its population is nearly 4 million, making it the biggest city in the European Union, though not in Europe. Founded in the 12th Century, Berlin has seen its fair share of historical events. Under Frederick the Great’s rule it became the centre of the Enlightenment, it was also home to the expressionist movement and of course was integral both during and after World War Two. Famously being split between the West, a more liberal and capitalist city and the East, part of the USSR where life was a lot bleaker and tough. The Berlin wall became an iconic, but tragic reminder of the differences between the East and the West especially during the war. It prompted artworks and songs, such as Lou Reed’s Berlin:

“In Berlin, by the wall

You were five foot ten inches tall

It was very nice

Candlelight and Dubonnet on ice”

Since the fall of the wall, Berlin has now become one of the most lively and happening places in Europe and is full of famous clubs, bars and sights to see making it an unmissable stop on anyone’s road-trip through Europe and it’s attitude to Cannabis and drugs has lead to it becoming a mainstay on any drug trip around Europe too.

Here are some of the top places to visit in Barcelona, the beautiful horizon, some famous sites and scenes to see.

The Berghain 

Arguably the most famous club not just in Berlin, but in the whole of Europe, the Berghain has become a icon of exclusivity. People call it a church, a way of life, an institution. It’s near impossible to get in as the bouncers will assess everybody and only allow those deemed to have the right vibe are allowed to enter. Once inside an incredible, techno dream awaits, where liberal attitudes to sex and drugs keep the party going from Saturday to Monday… If you can get in, it’s worth the wait.

The Reichstag

The seat of the German government, this building is an iconic symbol of what Berlin has been through. It’s been re-built, it housed the Nazis, it was bombed and now, with its glass centre, it’s a must visit part of the city. Make sure you book a trip to the very top of the glass dome for a view over Berlin.

Cannabis in Berlin

So, what is the cannabis culture like on the streets of Berlin? It appears that Berlin’s relationship with Cannabis dates back quite far. An urn from around 500BC was found containing Cannabis plants and seeds, suggesting that the city has an ancient connection to Cannabis. It is not a rare sight to see and smell people smoking cannabis around the city and the attitude towards drugs in general in Berlin is quite relaxed. However, the possession and selling of Cannabis in Germany is illegal. This doesn’t stop the millions of Germans from smoking Cannabis, Statista found that Germans were the joint tenth highest population in Europe, and other studies have shown a general increase in young people smoking cannabis in Germany and in Berlin too, so let’s examine the laws in Berlin in a little more detail.

Is It Legal?

Simply put, no… Cannabis possession and selling is not legal in Berlin or Germany. The German Federal Narcotics act made sure of that. If caught in possession of any drugs, including Cannabis, you could face up to five years in prison. But, whilst possessing the drug is listed as an offence, using it isn’t. If someone is caught smoking Cannabis, the punishment isn’t always that severe. Germany use a ‘treatment over punishment’ approach which means you’re more likely to get a telling off than a severe prison sentence if you’re found smoking cannabis. What’s more, the law actually says that if you’re caught with a ‘small amount’ then you’re not really committing an offence. The term small amount varies from region to region in Germany, but in Berlin it is up to 15 grams, the highest amount in the whole of Germany, again making Berlin the hot spot of the country.

Illegal

So possessing a small amount of cannabis is legal, but what happens if you’re caught with more than 15g in the city. The punishment for the possession of drugs can range from a $30,000 fine, to up to two years in prison. Under the Narcotics Act, Cannabis is listed as Appendix 1, what this means is that it’s in the least severe category of drugs, but still if found with a large amount, a prosecution can occur. Even though it is illegal, anecdotal accounts of smoking Cannabis in Berlin is that often the police don’t take notice, or if they do you are more likely going to be asked to give up the cannabis rather than being directly punished, much like in London and Barcelona too.

Legal 

Some forms of Cannabis consumption are actually legal in Germany and Berlin. As stated above, having a small amount of the drug means you’re likely to escape prosecution, but there are also other forms of legal cannabis you can acquire in the city. As with all members of the EU, the use and sale of CBD is totally legal, and there are loads of great CBD shops around the city offering all sorts of useful CBD products. Also, medical Cannabis has been legal since 2017. Medical Cannabis is available to pick up from the pharmacy with a prescription for patients on chemotherapy and with certain disorders and diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. This was pushed through after lobbying from the Left and Green parties in the country and shows the forward thinking attitudes towards the benefits of Cannabis in the city.

The City’s General Attitude to Cannabis 

Even though the laws are a little tough on drug use, Berlin has become famous for its relaxed nature around them. People go to Berlin to rave and party and it is very easy to acquire drugs in the city. There are a number of parades hosted in the city, such as the love parade and the hemp parade that celebrate the city’s attitude to drug culture and party lifestyles. 

The Love Parade

The Love parade started in 1989 as a political protest against the Berlin wall, but quickly ended up being one of the most famous celebrations of rave culture in the world. People openly smoke cannabis and take drugs in this marching celebration of all things rave, that makes its way through the city.

The Hemp Parade 

As the English homepage for the event states: The Hanfparade (“Hemp parade”) is the largest and most traditional march for Cannabis as medicine, natural resource and recreational drug in Germany.” The march celebrates Cannabis for all of its glorious reasons. Thousands of people protest in the city for the legalisation of the drug and enjoy music, food and all the fun of a festival whilst also raising awareness of the properties of the cannabis plant. Again, this shows the fun loving attitude and relaxed, positive view of Cannabis in Berlin.

The Hemp museum

In the centre of the city you can even find a hemp museum, celebrating the multitude of uses the plan has, from pharmaceuticals to medicines, the museum showcases just how brilliant the Cannabis plant and its products are and offers an optimistic view of a future that focuses on getting the best from Hemp and cannabis.

Conclusion

Berlin is a beautiful city, full of history and fun-loving city members. It’s seen its fair share of hardship over the many years of its existence, but now seems to be in a cultural glory decade, hosting some of the most famous clubs, the largest Cannabis marches and the most open minded attitude of most European cities. With the legalization of medical Cannabis, we can hope that over the next few years, the already relaxed attitude will grow even more so. Remember that if you visit the city, a ‘small amount’ is pretty much legal, but still do be careful as there’s a little way to go before complete legalization. Auf Wiedersehen… for now.

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your top source for all things cannabis-related. Remember to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other products.

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Travel Vicariously With These International Cannabis Features

Take a journey around the world without leaving your chair with our round-up of international cannabis stories, from sampling Moroccan hash in the Rif mountains with Ed Rosenthal to traveling through India with Swami and Nikki.

READ: Dutch Passion Spreads the Seeds

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READ: A Journey to the Heart of Moroccan Hash

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READ: Fragrant Possibilities: Craft Cannabis in Canada’s Legal Market

Canada may be the first G-7 nation to fully legalize adult-use cannabis, but the country has deep roots when it comes to cultivating. At the dawn of a new era for legalized, corporate weed in Canada, one craft grower aims to bring the beauty of the bud back to the foreground.

Swami and Nikki Cannabis Now Magazine

READ: Surviving India Without Ganja

Longtime Emerald Triangle cultivators Nikki Lastreto and Swami Chaitanya try traveling sans cannabis.

International cannabis Sweet Seeds Spain Cannabis Seed Company Cannabis Now

READ: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Seed Scientists of Spain

Sweet Seeds, one of the biggest and most popular seed banks in Spain, has grown from a few friends smoking weed and swapping seeds to a major player in Europe’s rapidly developing seed market.

READ: Japan Among the Worst Places to Have Weed

The penalties for growing cannabis in Japan could be up to seven years in prison.

International cannabis

READ: Coral Reefer’s Guide to Cannabis Down Under

Cannabis-loving adventurers need to put Australia on their map now that the country’s pot policy is catching up to the early medical cannabis system in the U.S.

READ: Cannabis in Africa: Will 2020 Be the Breakthrough Year?

People have been growing cannabis in Africa for centuries, and now legal cannabis production has taken hold in some countries on the continent — with several more anticipating an embrace of the new industry on the horizon.

TELL US, what’s your dream destination?

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3 Cannabis Trends to Watch in 2020

Lightning-fast. High-speed. Breakneck. 

This is how quick the modern cannabis experience is changing — and nobody knows this better than the consumers who are witnessing this rapid growth firsthand. From dispensary shelves filled with products you’ve never seen before to the increasingly serious push for legal cannabis nationwide, to cannabis consumption lounges opening up in a few lucky locations, we are living through the cannabis renaissance. And yet, more expansive change is still on the horizon.  

It’s impossible to predict some of the specific changes we’ll see in 2020 — especially considering everything that will happen in this landmark year, from a first-of-its-kind presidential election season to the FDA’s monolithic task of regulating CBD for human consumption

That said, I feel confident in anticipating other 2020 trends because cannabis is growing into its commodity crop designation and, increasingly, the marijuana industry is beginning to mimic more traditional industries as normalization and commercialization continue to take root. Here’s what to expect in the new year.

1) An Even Stronger Emphasis on Quality & Accountability

Legal cannabis products started with a relatively low bar: grow marijuana flower or develop an infused product that meets the state’s exacting standards, and then sell it to the masses, who were thrilled to purchase any THC-containing product in a legal store.

And much of these first-generation products were just that: a starting point, with safe and efficacious products that did the job. 

But in 2020, we’ll see a drastic increase in product quality and accountability. 

Our source material is already getting consistently better, with cannabis growers recognizing the need to cultivate better flower to differentiate their gardens from competitors’ grows. We see this happening with the flower brands and small-batch cultivators who are selling their products at a premium, and we’ll surely see lots more of this in 2020. 

Edibles and topicals will also follow suit, with brands starting to invest in better, healthier, more sustainable and increasingly luxurious ingredients, from cacao in edibles to cocoa butter in topicals. And of course, particularly after the vaping illness incidents in 2019, the fast-growing concentrates and extracts categories will also see an elevation in product quality in their never-ending quest for purity, tasty terpenes and efficacious formulations.

(Photo by Shannon Paras / the Floral Lens)

2) More Changes at the Federal Level

Many marijuana aficionados don’t feel the sting of federal cannabis policy in their day-to-day lives. Sure, weed remains federally illegal, but state-legal cannabis is currently available to a clear majority of Americans.

Even so, all consumers shopping in regulated markets feel the pinch of federal illegality — even if they aren’t aware of it. 

Every plant-touching business in the U.S., including dispensaries, cultivation facilities and manufacturers, pays a premium on almost everything it does. Real estate is often more expensive, because of restrictive zoning requirements and lingering stigma. Effective tax rates are off the charts, because of IRS tax code 280E. And nearly everything involving capital is more difficult (read: expensive) because of these licensed businesses’ inability to access traditional banking services.

But some of this will change in 2020, and this will affect consumers.

The U.S. Congress has taken its sweet time in passing legislation that would allow cannabis businesses to operate like literally any other business. But political insiders and high-ranking financial stakeholders are showing signs that real change is on the way — and we can assume that once cannabis businesses are taxed and banked like any other company, some of those savings will get passed down to the end consumer. 

3) An Explosion of Cannabis Tech Innovation

The collision of cannabis and technology has only just begun. 

Already we’ve seen some impressive innovation in the canna-tech space. We’ve also seen some snake oil tech that fails to deliver on its promises.

But we will see more canna-tech innovation in 2020 than the last five years combined — because of the market’s confidence, because of the availability of capital, because of the dwindling stigma and because we the consumers are demanding more from our cannabis experiences.

And this revolution of innovation won’t be limited to the kind of technology we most often think of, though we’ll also see plenty of game-changing extraction machinery and vaporizing devices. Think about the technology of traditional agriculture and its potential impact on marijuana breeding and farming programs. And what about the technology of humidity control and decontamination and what this could mean for an industry that is starting to consider shipping large amounts of legal cannabis around the world?

And what about the new delivery methods that have yet to be created? Yes, medical technologies such as sublinguals and suppositories are scientifically proven methods of administration. And yes, while dabbing once seemed intensely taboo, well-designed technology has replaced the butane torch, and now it all seems so normal.

2020 is just beginning and I can’t wait to see where the new year takes us.

TELL US, what are your cannabis predictions for 2020?

Originally published in Issue 40 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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