South Africa gets its first Cannabis Coffee Shop

Legal cannabis use in South Africa is still up in the air, but that did not stop Frank from opening the first cannabis coffee shop in South Africa.

Located in an ordinary building in a Johannesburg suburb, the shopfront signage is neon and the name is cryptic and revealing enough for his customers to take note and vague enough for his critics and law enforcement to ignore.

It is still a criminal offence to grow or smoke marijuana in South Africa. The Western Cape High Court ruled in March that private use and private cultivation of cannabis in someone’s own home is constitutionally legal. Parliament, however, is still to amend the law.

The Dagga shop has been open for a month and according to Frank more than 1,300 people popped around to chill out with a slowboat.

“People just want a place where they smoke that’s a social, chilled, safe space,” says Frank relaxing in the shaded garden.

Menu offerings include bliss, pineapple, honeycomb and boss cheese, all names for marijuana that Frank L sells for between R180 and R800 a gram. Other offerings include dagga dabs, compressed dagga oil smoked and dagga muffins.

The interior of the headshop boasts floors that are painted like a kiddies’ road-safety traffic park, only the signboards say “Red Light District” and the tabletops are decorated in a cannabis theme. There’s a pool table, popcorn machines and a food counter. There’s also a counter selling smoking paraphernalia.

“There are never fights or anything like that,” says one patron. Another customer says she smokes to stave off anxiety.

“I get people from all walks of life in here,” says Frank. His patrons include a judge, politically connected elite and stockbrokers. There are also students, businessmen on extended lunch breaks and those looking for cannabis to ease medical conditions.

“South Africans have needed a cannabis coffee shop culture for years. This café is just the beginning,” says Frank, who’s already plotting a second café. The green revolution is coming, it can’t grow in the dark forever.

Happy 420!