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A cannabis shop, cannabis dispensary, or cannabis cooperative is a location at which marijuana is sold for recreational or medical use. In the Netherlands these are called coffeeshops.[1] In the United States they exist as an outlet for both recreational and medical use. These shops differ from head shops in that the latter sells only drug paraphernalia. In 2015, the City of San Diego made A Green Alternative the first licensed medical marijuana dispensary and delivery service in the city.[2]



Cannabis selling coffeeshops began in the 1970s. Establishments like Mellow Yellow coffeeshop were known for open cannabis smoking and dealing. After an explosion of hard drugs authorities began to tolerate soft drugs and legalized cannabis selling in registered coffeeshops.[3]


In certain territories in the United States and Canada, dispensaries distribute cannabis to the general public or in some cases only to approved patients.[4] In Uruguay cannabis dispensaries are built by the government and can sell to the public.[5]

Social ClubEdit

Originally appearing in the United States during Prohibition they sold cannabis as a legal intoxicant.[6] Today they exist in New Zealand, Spain[7] Belgium,[8] France,[9] the Netherlands,[10] Slovenia,[11] Austria.[12] and Germany.[13]

Bhang ShopEdit

A bhang shop in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India.

In India, several Indian states allow licensed bhang shops to sell bhang, a decoction of cannabis. They mainly sell, traditional cannabis-infused Indian bhang drinks Bhang lassi and Bhang thandai.


  1. ^ "Dutch cannabis cafe owners fight changes - BBC News". BBC News. 27 April 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Inside San Diego's First Legal, Medical Pot Shop". NBC San Diego. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  3. ^ "Amsterdam Coffeeshops Guide". Retrieved 2017-11-11.
  4. ^ "List of Canadian dispensaries". List of Canadian dispensaries. Archived from the original on 2012-06-11.
  5. ^ Carless, Will (2015-01-07) Uruguay's Year In Marijuana: 3 Successes, 3 Burning Questions. NBC News. Retrieved on 2015-12-17.
  6. ^ "Marijuana History". Narconon International.
  7. ^ Hanf Journal: Spanien: Gerichtsverfahren gegen Cannabis-Anbau-Clubs eingestellt! 13. Decembre 2006
  8. ^ Hanf Journal: Freispruch für „Trekt Uw Plant“, 15. March 2010
  9. ^ "Bientôt des "cannabistrots" ?". Libé
  10. ^ VOC Nederland: Primeur: kijkje in eerste Nederlandse Cannabis Social Club, Tree of Life Amsterdam, 27.10.2014
  11. ^ Medijuana Magazin: "Dem Ganja verdanke ich mein Leben", 5. Februar 2014
  12. ^ ORF Salzburg: Marihuana: Club fordert Legalisierung, 14.05.2014
  13. ^ Hanf Journal: Die Eastside Growers: Handeln, nicht quatschen, 1.3.2011