“Culture is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behaviour and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in these.”
What is cannabis culture? Well, cannabis culture is the way that cannabis is perceived and dealt with within a society. This includes all the separate cannabinoids – CBD and THC – that make up this beautiful plant. Here at CBD Testers, we’re going to be taking you around the world – to many major cities – and delving into the cannabis culture of each one. Our first stop on this exciting world tour is: Cannabis in London. The land of red buses and postboxes. The land of Boris Johnson and fish & chips. The land of Brick Lane and Grime music. We’ll be discussing the legality of cannabis and how the government deals with it, as well as how it’s really explored on the ground. By the people. By the 9 million people that inhabit London. Strap yourselves in. Let’s take a trip to cockney London.
Whether you’re talking about the US, UK, or anywhere else in the world, cannabis culture can vary. To learn about laws across the globe, make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter, your hub for all things cannabis-related.
London is the capital city of England, which is part of the United Kingdom – made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It’s the home of the UK government at the Houses of Parliament, and is also the home of the royal family at Buckingham Palace. And if there could ever be two buildings mentioned that best don’t summarise London life then those are them. Because whilst many tourists might come to London to look at these two quite astounding buildings, the real London is something much less boring, and much more extraordinary.
The weather in London, and England in general, is not something to boast about. In fact, even in the driest month of July, the average temperature is only 17 degrees. In January, the average temperature in London is about 4 degrees. It can be freezing. Although the weather in London is often pretty bad – as capital cities go – when the sun is out it is a place of dreams. As British pop-star Lily Allen once sang:
“You might laugh you might frown, walkin’ round London town. The sun is in the sky oh why oh why would I wanna be anywhere else?”
However London – be it rain, sun or snow – has places that are built for any weather. Here are some of the places that best summarise London life.
London is a city that surrounds the River Thames, which is London’s answer to the Seine, and is a 346km river. Along this river are some of the most beautiful spots in London. Southbank is probably the prettiest of them all. Made with concrete brutalist architecture, the Southbank has the National Theatre, an underground skatepark and the Tate Modern. This place manages to perfectly unite art, culture and class.
Soho has a whole different vibe. Soho is made up of a few, connected streets full of food, restaurants, bars, clubs and live music. The Groucho Club in Soho used to be home of all of the most famous actors and performers. However, unfortunately, Kevin Spacey’s disgusting escapades seems to have left the club with a bad-ish reputation. Nonetheless, the area has some of the best food, drink and party life in the whole city. It’s a very colourful and joyous place.
Alternatively, you have Brick Lane in East London. The best way to summarise this place is by using its name: it’s one lane, and it’s made up of lots of bricks. This street has some of the best hipster clothing you’ll probably ever find. You’ll be greeted by a cloud of smoke, some of the most stylish people you’ll ever glance at, and some quite incredible garms (that’s London for clothes). Furthermore, the food here is also insane. It’s places like this that make London what it is.
Cannabis in London
So, the question is, where does cannabis sit in the culture of London. Well, the truth is, it sits right at the heart of it. In London, you might hear it be referred to as cannabis, weed, reefa, bud, Mary Jane, ganja, marijuana or basically anything. Whilst London may appear to be defined by TV shows like The Crown and Bridgerton, the truth is that Top Boy and Skins are far more close to the real thing. Beneath the stiff-upper lip upper class world, there is a far more exciting grass-roots culture of the working-classes and middle classes. Music, art and collaboration in London is rife, and it’s all inspired by the beauty of cannabis. In fact, some say if you look hard enough through the smokey streets, you can even find weed cafes like the ones in Amsterdam.
Is It Legal?
The cannabis plant is not legal in London. Whilst CBD has been accepted into society, THC is very much still unlawful. However, that’s not to say that people don’t enjoy THC cannabis. According to Statista, 30% of UK citizens have tried weed. That’s basically 10 million people. So what is and isn’t legal in the UK?
Any substance that contains more than 0.2% THC is illegal in the UK. In addition, even CBD flowers, which don’t exceed this limit, are also illegal due to the fact that they resemble cannabis buds. The UK government doesn’t like anything that looks like the cannabis plant. THC has been boycotted by England, which of course includes London, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be changing their view anytime soon. The current leader, Boris Johnson, said he has ‘absolutely no intention of legalizing cannabis’. However, as you can imagine, cannabis’ illegality has never actually stopped the people of London from enjoying it.
Since 2018, medical cannabis and CBD products have been available in the UK. It’s very easy to walk down your high-street and pick up a variety of CBD based products. However, medical cannabis isn’t anywhere near as easy to get ahold of. Due to the NHS’ lack of support, often people have to go to private establishments in order to get a prescription – this of course costs a great deal. Therefore, whilst the government seem to be sticking to an extremely slow approach to cannabis legalisation, the rest of England and specifically London are continueing to do as they wish.
Grime music is a style of rap that was curated in London in the early 2000s. It’s major artists who helped to build its reputation are: Skepta, Stomzy, Wiley, Dizzee Rascal and many more.
“It developed out of the earlier UK dance style UK garage, and draws influences from jungle, dancehall, and hip hop.”
Grime music is often linked with cannabis, due to many of its best artists enjoying the cannabis plant for its creative and relaxing effects. However, of course, just like Jazz music before it, many backwards News Outlets will spend their time trying to make this link a sinister one. One of: negative effects and bad influences on children. The truth is, the establishment don’t like grime music or cannabis, because both represent an integral part of London culture that they cannot control. A part of London culture that is born from the working-classes and ruled by the people and for the people. Stomzy said himself:
“What I’m doing is British. It stems from the same culture as U.S. hip-hop, but the way we dress, the way we speak, the way we perform is so different. It’s U.K. street culture.”
The nightlife in London is probably one of the best places to be in the world. There’s literally something for everyone. Whether you want to take an ecstasy pill in Fabric, do acid in The Box, take ketamine at Blues Kitchen or smoke a joint and enjoy some jazz music in Shoreditch – it’s all available. This is what makes London culture so great. The diversity is rife, and because of this, so are the different passions. It’s this variation that makes the cannabis culture so full of life. Weed is integral to London nightlife, the same way as it is integral to Grime. It goes hand in hand with it and is never hard to get a hold of. In some ways, when it comes to London, finding a dealer to purchase some cannabis is easier than buying a beer. If you’re ever in the city, don’t forget to go on a night out with your trusty green friend.
Cannabis in London: Conclusion
The cannabis culture in London is electric. Whilst the UK may be a small island, one that is now attempting to move further away from Europe since Brexit, it still packs a punch and can compete with the rest of Europe. The real people of London – not the Queen and the Politicians – are creating new and exciting worlds constantly, all with the help of cannabis. When it comes to cannabis, or weed, or whatever you want to call it – London is a comfortable home for it. Why not visit London yourself and let us know what you think?
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