Rise of UK Social Cannabis Clubs

on Aug 24, 2018

Smoking Clubs in UK

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In recent years, there appears to have been a boom in the popularity of ad-hoc cannabis clubs popping up all over the UK. In reality, this sudden 'rise' has been a quiet, grassroots movement over the last several years. UK Cannabis Clubs are currently united under the UK Cannabis Social Club website, which has been operating since 2011. There are currently almost 80 smoking clubs registered on the site, with additional information on how to set up a smoking club in your area. 

Club Policies 

Smoking clubs in the UK are for adults 18 and over and many are socially engaged, holding public meetings and even coordinating charity fundraisers for third-party organizations. Many clubs still operate a members-only policy, with some having built their member base purely through word of mouth invite – you can only become a member if referred by an existing member.  

While some clubs are engaged in social activism to change current drug policies, others are purely a safe space for members to socialize and smoke together outside of usual community establishments like bars and clubs. Most clubs operate a no-alcohol policy, striving instead to nurture a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere for cannabis enthusiasts to come together. In stark contrast to the idea of the anti-social smoker, these spaces function as a meeting ground for individuals to discuss their favourite strains, and the sustainability of growing your own plants as opposed to buying suspect products on the street.  

Some of the more low-key, underground smoking clubs do sell marijuana to members on the premises, which brings the clubs into officially illegal territory. Larger clubs such as the Teesside Cannabis Club, however, are strictly for members to socialize; no illegal substances are sold on or by the premises. While the club provides a casual, coffee shop atmosphere - even providing snacks and refreshments – hard drugs and alcohol are not allowed, and there is a strict Bring Your Own Weed policy. Other clubs such as the London Smoking Club don't even operate out of a single brick-and-mortar building, instead holding pop up events in other venues. This has allowed them to stay under the radar, and for local law enforcement to turn a blind eye as long as clubs maintain an inconspicuous composure.  

Working with Law Enforcement 

Although some clubs do sell to members, none seem to have had many problems with local law enforcement. The Teesside Cannabis Club, in particular, have struck up a relationship with North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, who has visited the club to learn about how it operates. Jones supports medicinal cannabis use, and since Teesside club isn't selling or dealing, he has likened it to any other sort of social club wherein members contribute an annual membership fee. In an interview with Metro, Jones said: "There are pubs and clubs where people go and drink alcohol so why shouldn't consenting adults be able to use cannabis recreationally and without causing anyone any harm". The Teesside club fall under the Durham Police Force jurisdiction, who were the first police force in the UK to publicly announce their intention to relax cannabis policing. As of 2015 only individuals smoking blatantly in public would be targeted, as well as those growing and selling marijuana for commercial gain. 

The Cannabis Social Club website also offers information on cannabis law, and is soon to provide legal advice to those considering joining or running a club.  If you're interested in joining a club or if you want to join the smoking community, here at Namaste we recommend that you do it the healthy way by using one of our vaporizers!

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