If we’re talking about cannabis friendly cities, let’s talking medical marijuana. In the early 60’s, a group of scientists doing research at Hebrew University in Jerusalem decided they were going to study hashish since no one else was doing it. They called up the police department and asked if they could have some. The police agreed to it so the lead scientist, Raphael Mechoulam, headed over to the station, picked up a 5-kilo bag of hashish and bussed back to the university lab. In a recent documentary called The Scientist, he describes the awkward scene on the bus as passengers began wondering why the entire bus started reeking!
Raphael Mechoulam and his team are the world-class scientists that are known for isolating the first cannabinoid most commonly referred to as THC. The government of Israel has continued to allow scientists to research cannabis since the 1960’s and also began qualifying patients to use cannabis to treat pain, PTSD, and cancer since the early 1990’s. Companies in Israel have also produced some of the best cannabis strains in the world, including one that has absolutely no THC. Israel now has multiple government-sanctioned cannabis growing operations which provide for over 20,000 medical patients.
The island of Jamaica has a reputation for being the birthplace of legendary reggae artists who advocated cannabis through their music and spiritual community. Bob Marley, who grew up in a neighborhood called Trenchtown, located near Jamaica’s capital, Kingston, created an entire culture around smoking weed, spirituality, and positive vibrations.
During the 1960’s, Trenchtown became known as the Hollywood of Jamaica as the world began hearing the sounds of Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae music. Even though weed was technically illegal during this period, musical artists not only used ganja in their daily lives, they used music to spur on a revolution that would expose unjust marijuana laws around the world.
In 2015, the Jamaican government amended the law to allow a person to have up 2 ounces of personal pot and tourists with valid medical marijuana cards may apply for a permit to purchase small amounts. The law also protects practitioners of Rastafarianism, who use the sacred herb as part of their religious ceremonies.
When it comes to cannabis friendly cities, Kingston, Jamaica will always be remembered for creating a cannabis culture that is filled with positivity, advocacy, and the spirit of revolution.
The first known cannabis-friendly “coffee shop” in the world was called Mellow Yellow, which opened in Amsterdam in 1972. For almost five decades, cannabis enthusiasts from all around the world have traveled to Amsterdam to enjoy the freedom of smoking a joint with friends in a legitimate cafe with strain options and munchies. The Netherlands is a country that is known for its lenient drug laws, which has allowed cannabis coffeeshop businesses to thrive in the capital city of Amsterdam.
There are over now 170 cannabis friendly coffee shops in Amsterdam that allow anyone 18 and over to come in and get high with other coffee shop patrons. There has been a huge grey area with cannabis law in the Netherlands in the past, but in late 2017, legislation was introduced to start creating a process that allows coffee shops to legally acquire weed from state-appointed producers.
Mellow Yellow was forced to shut down on January 1st, 2017 because new law banned any coffee shop from being within 250 meters of a school. Cannabis law seems to be tightening up in Amsterdam but it will always be known for being one of the most cannabis friendly cities in the world!
The word ganja originates from India and is a term used to reference the flower of the cannabis plant which has been utilized all over the continent for thousands of years as a common medicine. The most common way people consume cannabis in India is by preparing it as a drink by grinding the buds and leaves into a paste and then adding that to milk, fruit, and various spices. Indians refer to this paste as bhang, which has been an essential part of the Hindu culture for centuries.
Goa, India became one of the hippie capitals of the world in the late 60’s as tourists began to discover its beautiful beaches, epic nightlife, and openness to spiritual practice. Goa is a city with a fusion of both Eastern and Western culture with a heavy Portuguese influence on architecture and religion.
The coastal city is known today for producing a style of electronic music called Goa Trance that is popular at dance festivals where cannabis usage is usually accepted and shared among festival goers. Goa is a great city to visit if you’re looking for a place that has cherished cannabis for thousands of years. You know they got some good ganja!
San Francisco, California, United States
Around the same time that Israel began allowing cancer patients access to cannabis, advocates in San Francisco opened the very first “low profile” dispensary to provide AIDS patients with natural medicine. Just a few years later in 1992, the same location became known as the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club which is said to be the very first retail dispensary.
California became the first state in the US to legalize the sale of medical marijuana with the implementation of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.
Cali consumers have been spoiled with having easy access to a huge variety of cannabis strains and pot products for over 20 years! Just a few hours north of San Francisco is an area known as the Emerald Triangle and includes three counties; Trinity, Humboldt, and Mendocino. These three California counties have been responsible for growing more pot than any other place in America.
Hippies and growers have been enjoying the beauty of the Redwoods since the 1960’s which has created an entire culture that can only be found north of San Francisco.
The cannabis friendly city also hosts an annual Cannabis Cup event and it will also be hosting the very first global Cannabis Drinks Expo in July 2018! Now that California has legalized weed for adult use, San Francisco may be one of the most cannabis-friendly cities in the world!
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