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Exploring Cannabis Culture: Edinburgh

cannabis edinburgh
Written by Joseph Mcqueen

“The view of Edinburgh from the road before you enter Leith is quite enchanting: it is… fairy-like and what you would only imagine as a thing to dream of, or to see in a picture” – Queen Victoria of England. 

Next up in our cannabis culture articles, we’re heading over to the highlands: Scotland. Deep in the green hills of Scotland sits one of the greatest cities in the world, and its capital, Edinburgh. Say it with a Scottish accent and it sounds even better. Scotland has amazing food, amazing people, even amazing kilts, but what’s the cannabis culture like over there? Scotland may be part of the UK (for now), but does it allow for more accepting cannabis laws? Today we’re going to delve into the cannabis culture of Edinburgh and find out for ourselves. This place is a truly beautiful one. Let’s take a look. 

Cannabis is gaining popularity across the globe. In Europe, the laws are still a bit stricter than in the United States, but in many regions, recreational marijuana use is quickly becoming the new norm. To learn more about changing regulations and emerging trends, make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter, your hub for all things cannabis-related, including more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other legal products. And save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10THCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!


Edinburgh is the capital city of the nation of Scotland, and has a modest population of half a million. Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, which also includes England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Full of green mountains, fields, insanely good whisky, great comedy and cool-looking dresses (kilts), this country is a proud one. Edinburgh, specifically, is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK, and perhaps Europe too. Since the 1707 Acts of Union, Scotland has shared legislation with the rest of the UK and is governed by the same government. That means Scotland is not independent (despite the fact that the population are often calling for a referendum of independence). Their last referendum in 2014 was 45/55% in favour of staying, which means almost half of the country desires to be an independent nation. Nonetheless, Scottish laws are still made in Scotland, and they do have some autonomy. However, England has lots of influence on Scotland. Which does sound a bit bizarre, doesn’t it? This means, as you can imagine, that the cannabis laws in Scotland are very similar to that of England. But maybe there are some differences. But first of all, let’s delve deeper into the beautiful city of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 

As the Scottish Poet, Tobias Smollett, said himself: “Edinburgh is a hotbed of genius”

Founded in 1947, the Edinburgh fringe festival is a festival of theatre, comedy and music that occurs every year. Well, it did, until covid-19 had its say. Thanks again to the coronavirus! The festival occurs every August in the centre of Edinburgh and has birthed some of the greatest comedy acts of all time: including Tim Minchin and the Mighty Boosh. One of the greatest spectacles of the fringe festival is the royal mile, which is a mile-long street where performers come to hand out fliers to potential audience members. It’s quite an extraordinary sight and it’s always packed. Not only do liberal theatre goers fill the streets of Edinburgh during the festival, but the night life also becomes rather magical. You won’t be surprised to smell the scent of whisky on people’s breath, and the hum of cannabis floating in the air. 


Scottish whisky dates back over 500 years ago. Blimey, the whiskey, It is incredible. Edinburgh was not only the birthplace of whisky, but it also has the most variety of any place in the world. Whisky is an acquired taste, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll fit right into the Scottish lifestyle; because, the scots…they can definitely drink. 


Scottish pies are unlike anything you’ll have seen before, and they’re an integral part of Edinburgh food. Pie shops are everywhere and there’s practically nothing that they haven’t thought to put in them. Scottish pies don’t reach the cannibalistic levels of Sweeney Todd, but it isn’t far off. Think of any vegetable or any meat, and they probably have a pie containing it. Plus, not to mention, these pies are absolutely delicious. 

Arthur’s Seat

The mountain ranges in Scotland are incomparable, and Edinburgh is the city that has some of Scotland’s best. Just a short walk from the main city sits Arthur’s seat; an old volcano. Arthur’s seat reaches 251 M in height. This walk takes around 2 hours and journeys along a great big mountain, eventually leading to quite a spectacular view. Grabbing a few beers, perhaps some of mother nature’s herb and going for a stroll up Arthur’s Seat is an absolute must. 

The Drug Class System

In the UK there are three classes of drugs, which dictate how serious the drug is and how seriously the law will prosecute you if you’re found in possession, cultivating it, or selling it. 

Class A 

  • Drugs in this class include: heroin, cocaine and LSD.  
  • Sentence: up to 7 years in prison and an unlimited fine. 

Class B

  • Drugs in this class include: speed, cannabis and ketamine.
  • Sentence: up to 5 years in prison and an unlimited fine.

Class C

  • Drugs in this class include: valium and prescription tranquillizers. 
  • Sentence: up to 2 years in prison and unlimited fine. 

Cannabis in Edinburgh 

As mentioned earlier, whilst Scotland is its own nation, it shares lots of laws with the entire UK. Because of this, from a legal perspective, drugs are dealt with much the same as in London or any other city in the United Kingdom. However, as we know, culture isn’t always about laws, it’s about the people. Nonetheless, recreational cannabis is currently illegal in Scotland and thus in Edinburgh. However, Scotland is known to be on the more liberal side of the United Kingdom, which is often why they fight for independence. Scotland often feels like its being dragged down by England’s right wing policies. Therefore, if any country in the UK is going to push for cannabis legalisation, it wouldn’t be surprising if it was Scotland. In fact, a recent poll suggested that 47% of Scots would support cannabis legalization. But let’s get down to the specifics. 

What’s Illegal?

The cannabis plant being used for recreational (enjoyment) purposes is illegal in Scotland. As it stands, any product that contains more than 0.2 THC % is illegal. In addition, CBD flowers, which do not exceed this limit, are also illegal. This is because the government are not fond of the cannabis plant being used for recreational purposes; especially in its bud form. Nicola Sturgeon, who is the leader of the Scottish National Party and leads the Scottish government, does not believe that cannabis should be legalised recreationally, but does understand its importance medically. 

What’s Legal?

That’s not to say that no part of the cannabis plant is legal in the UK, and in Edinburgh. In fact, medical cannabis was legalised in the UK in November 2018. Doctors can now prescribe it in situations they seem fit. Unfortunately, only one product, which helps treat forms of epilepsy, is available on the NHS in Scotland. Any other cannabis based medicine is only available from private doctors, which of course leads to extortionate prescription prices. 

Although it is likely that medical cannabis will become cheaper and more easily accessible in the near future due to support from Nicola Sturgeon

“Cannabis is not a harmless substance. I am not in favour of general decrimalisation but I do think there is a specific case for medical use” 

Not only that, but CBD products are easily purchasable in Edinburgh. CBD is a legal cannabinoid, which is one of the hundred other cannabinoids within the cannabis plant. Therefore, whilst Scotland isn’t competing with the likes of Barcelona or Amsterdam, they are still showing signs of progress. Perhaps with independence they may be able to make quicker progress. 

The City’s General Attitude to Cannabis 

Laws are one thing, but the people on the streets are a completely different ball game. Edinburgh is a very friendly city, and the people are open to weed consumption. If you’re found with anything below 5 grams on you, the police will usually assume that it’s for personal use and they won’t prosecute you. So what do the people of Edinburgh think of cannabis, and how ingrained is it into society? 

Cannabis Cafes

Cannabis cafes are known to be becoming more popular in Edinburgh. Of course this doesn’t include any substance that contains more than 0.2% THC, so it’s mostly CBD products. These include edibles, coffees, and other products. Some even sell hemp coffee, which sounds pretty tasty. Whilst Edinburgh hasn’t got the same coffeeshop culture as Amsterdam, it’s beginning to create its own version. 

Cannabis Prices

Cannabis bought from street-dealers in Edinburgh can be cheaper than the rest of Europe. However, this obviously depends on which strain you’re trying to purchase. If you’re looking for cali weed then chances are it will be the same prices as elsewhere. The prices for a high-grade, good quality bud can start at 7 euros per gram (Remember that in Scotland, they use the Euro currency rather than the Sterling). It’s even cheaper in regards to hash, with some grams costing 6 euros. These prices are an absolute steal. It also highlights how popular cannabis must be that dealers are able to lower their prices to that level. 


The nightlife in Edinburgh is insanely vibrant. It also lends itself to the cannabis enthusiasts out there. Whilst there is a big drinking culture in Scotland, they also cater for the cannabis lovers out there too. Lots of Edinburgh clubs and bars are extremely colourful, liberal and artistic – which definitely lends itself to those feeling the effects of cannabis. Sneaky Pete’s and Boteco De Brasil are two locations that any weed-smoker has got to experience high. In addition, the University of Edinburgh takes in around 35,000 students per year, which adds to the bustling and vibrant city atmosphere. Many of these students will also enjoy cannabis whilst they study. It’s almost a right of passage for every UK university student to buy a gram of cannabis and watch the entirety of David Attenborough’s Planet Earth. 


There you have it: Edinburgh and its cannabis culture. As you can see, Edinburgh is perhaps held back slightly by the stagnant cannabis laws of England, but they’ve still created their own cannabis scene which competes with that of any European city. Some may argue that if Scotland became independent, Edinburgh could one day become the new Amsterdam – with a huge coffeeshop culture. But who knows? One thing is for certain, if you’re a weed-enthusiast, a trip to Edinburgh is a must.

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About the author

Joseph Mcqueen

Joseph is a cannabis journalist in the UK. His search and love for the truth in the cannabis industry is what drives him to write.