Cannibisters Herbal Apothecary

Cape Town cannabis guide: Everything you need to know

Cape Town’s very own cannabis club
7 days a week 10am - 11.30pm
 
066 344 3012
65 Regent Rd, Sea Point, Cape Town
https://cannibisters.com/
high@cannibisters.com
@CannibistersCpt
Cannibisters

Cape Town cannabis guide: Everything you need to know

Cannabis club owner & lawyer answer key questions

Last updated: Monday, 8 April 2024

Even though cannabis has been decriminalised for over five years, there’s still plenty of confusion around the trade. How much weed can you carry in public? What should a beginner expect? And how can you be sure the weed you’re buying is clean? 

Pierre Sarembock, owner of Cannibisters, and Zachary Helfrich, attorney and cannabis compliance specialist, help us answer key questions.


It has been Pierre’s lifelong dream to Cannibisters. Image: Cannibisters 

WHEN WAS CANNABIS LEGALISED IN SA?

The private use of cannabis by adults has been legal in South Africa since 2018. Producing and trading in cannabis is only legal if you have a licence, which Pierre has, allowing him to operate the first South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) approved cannabis dispensary in Cape Town.

“In South Africa we now have an opportunity to become a culture that can benefit from the responsible use of this incredible plant,” says Pierre. 


Cannabis was prohibited from the 20th century. Image: Simone Strydom

WHY WAS CANNABIS DECRIMINALISED? 

Cannabis had always been used in South Africa for healing and spiritual ceremonies and was made illegal in 1928. Previous cannabis laws were “massively overreaching for the ordinary person on the street and what they want to do in private,” says Zachary Helfrich, attorney and cannabis compliance specialist for Cannibisters. 

“There should always be an exercise where the state's interference ends at a certain point, and you're free to do what you want to a certain point, as long as it doesn't affect others. That informed a lot of the 2018 judgement.”

HOW MUCH CANNABIS CAN I POSSESS IN SA?

The amount depends if it's possessed in public or private. In private, a person can have up to 600g of dried cannabis and in public, 100g. 

However, Zachary doesn’t recommend carrying large amounts in public. 

“The amount that police officers are okay with varies from station to station. It's completely inconsistent. Not all officers are briefed on the current directives, which isn’t their fault. But I still wouldn't advise people to walk around helter skelter with huge quantities.”


A cannabis bud at Cannibisters. Image: Lara van Zyl

WHERE CAN I BUY WEED LEGALLY?

The problem with the industry is that the laws governing it are still unclear and in the process of finalisation (the Private Purposes Bill is currently sitting with the President).

This means that many cannabis shops and clubs are operating in a murky legal area. “Many people don't actually do the paperwork, they don't actually do the prescription, they just give you your weed. That's not the right way to do it,” says Zachary. “Cannibisters is one of the very few places that actually made sure they crossed all the T's and dotted their I’s.” 

It’s Cape Town’s first legal SAHPRA-approved dispensary and works on a membership basis (there’s more than 27 000 members). As a member, you have access to over 90 strains of weed (from R100 a gram), cannabis vapes, infused coffee and tea and edibles. Take a peek inside Cape Town’s cannabis culture at Cannibisters.


You have full access to the products and delivery options when you’re a member. Image: Cannibisters

HOW DO I KNOW IF A CANNABIS CLUB IS LEGAL?

A big indicator is the quality of the product. Zachary says that “the bud should be bright green and shouldn’t crumble. It also shouldn’t have an incredibly potent or off smell.” 

Zachary advises first-time visitors to ask questions about the products. “The staff should be able to tell you exactly which farm the product comes from, how it’s farmed. Any synthetic product is also a big no-no.” 

Cannibisters makes sure that the weed supplied (when not sourced from their own farm) is rigorously tested and completely natural.

Lastly, they should be trustworthy. “Cannibisters have a policy where if you’re not happy with a product, you can take it back. Not all shops do this and your ordinary dealer doesn’t either.”

WHAT CAN A BEGINNER EXPECT AT A CANNABIS CLUB? 

Beginners can be overwhelmed by all the strains available, says Simone Schultz, regular customer of Cannibisters. “A good club like Cannibisters will guide you if you’re new to weed. They should ask you questions like what kind of high you want, and explain the difference between the strains.” 

“Cannibisters has bongs that you can use for free, and they’re always clean. Or they bring you a rolling tray and paper. There’s even ice water for when you get the droogies (dry mouth). Most clubs I know don’t offer things like this,” says Simone. 


An esteemed club like Cannibisters is one of the most trustworthy ways to consume cannabis. Image: Cannibisters

THC vs CBD – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are substances found in the cannabis plant. Despite their similar chemical structures, CBD and THC don’t have the same effects – THC can make you feel high, while CBD won’t.. 

Even though THC plays a part in getting you stoned, it’s not the only element. “It’s the entourage effect,” says Pierre. Simply put, the entourage effect is the theory that all parts of the cannabis plant combined enhance the “high”, not just the percentage of THC.


Strains can also be combined to create a brand new strain. Image: Lara van Zyl

WHAT ARE CANNABIS STRAINS?

They’re essentially different species of cannabis, grown to have specific effects. Some strains help reduce fatigue or stress, while others make you feel happier, giggly or relaxed. 

“We still don't know the infinite number of strains that are in the world already,” says Pierre. If you’re a newbie to the world of weed, Cannibisters’ staff are super knowledgeable and will help you put together the ideal “starter pack.”

INDICA OR SATIVA?

“Indica makes you want to relax and sink into the couch. Sativa makes you bubbly,” says Pierre. The indica plant is believed to make you relaxed, while sativa has a more energising effect. You also get the hybrid which is a combination of the two. 

When is it best to smoke it? Many people use sativa during the day for when they want an energy boost, and indica for the evening or when they want to relax. Pierre has kitted out Cannibisters for every mood, with pillow forts, cosy couches, board games and a coffee bar.


You'll find Cannibisters close to the Mojo Market on Regent Road. Image: Cannibisters

DOES CANNABIS HAVE MEDICINAL BENEFITS?

Cannabis has been used for its alleged healing properties for millennia. “It's an amazing product in terms of health benefits, if it’s not abused.”

“Cannabis is an antioxidant. It's good for your blood pressure and your cholesterol, and there’s no harm when it’s used properly,” says Pierre. He always intended for the club to provide cannabis-based medications to help with health issues, which is why Cannibisters has an in-house medicinal cannabis practitioner with 24 years of experience.

Cannabis may be helpful in treating epilepsy, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis symptoms and more. Find out more about the medicinal benefits.

DOS AND DON’TS FOR CANNABIS BEGINNERS

  • Be upfront when you come to Cannibisters, says Pierre. “Then the team knows to give you the ‘101 course’ and start you on the lowest dosage.”

  • Consider starting with edibles, again in small doses (don’t eat the whole brownie) – ask the team at Cannibisters for recommendations.

  • Be in an environment where you feel comfortable when you first try cannabis.

  • Grass before glass – don’t drink alcohol before consuming weed (rather don’t mix the two at all).

MORE INFO ABOUT CANNIBISTERS:

Cannibisters is open: Daily, 10am – 11.30pm
Find it: 65 Regent Road (between Mojo Market and Checkers), Sea Point, Cape Town
Become a member: It costs R100 per month. No under 18s. You can sign up online
Contact them on: +27 (0)87 5378000, high@cannibisters.com, Facebook

By Julia Rowley

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