Sitting six floors up, looking down on London’s rooftops and the City workers leaving the high rises nearby, I sip a coffee and puff a joint of Moroccan hash, bought over the counter five minutes ago.
I’m in one of the many clandestine Amsterdam-style coffee shops to have popped up across the UK over the past few years – places that all have their own motivations and character, whether they’re open-doored and profit-driven or more private and community-based, but which all share one key characteristic: you can smoke – and sometimes buy – weed on the premises.
This is just one of six venues that I know of in this part of London, and beyond the capital similar set-ups exist all the way from Peterborough to Newcastle.
These under-the-radar smoking spots have been around for years – famously, cannabis legalisation campaigner Colin Davies was arrested in 2001 after opening
The Dutch Experience cafe in Stockport, Greater Manchester – but there’s evidence that there’s been a jump in numbers recently. Granted, that evidence is entirely anecdotal, but considering these places aren’t exactly going to be clamouring to register with their local councils, it’s about the best kind of evidence we have.
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