A new kind of beer is brewing in South Africa that will include cannabis after lawmakers there recently decriminalized it.
Poison City Brewing makes five different types of beer, including their newest addition, Durban Poison Cannabis lager. It is made with hemp, not hops, which are usually used to flavor beer.
"The easiest route into the market was to go with beer. And an interesting part there is that in beer there's an ingredient called hops which most people know about and hops is actually part of the same plant group as cannabis," said Graeme Bird, co-founder of Poison City Brewing.
However, hemp doesn’t have the same psychoactive chemicals that marijuana does.
The Constitutional Court decriminalized using and cultivating cannabis in private last fall. That decision did not include legalizing its trade or distribution. It can be risky to even display cannabis in public.
Officials have two years to make amendments to the country’s cannabis laws, but that isn’t stopping manufacturers like Bird, whose beer is shipped all over South Africa.
"I don't really get that whole cannabis thing; if you never told me that, I wasn't gonna think it's a cannabis beer. So, they must put some more cannabis, maybe like a smell or something, I don't know," Johannesburg resident Dakalo Motselele told Reuters.
"I don't think it's something that I'll order again but very interesting. I think the name 'cannabis' is what brings your attention to it but besides that I'm not a fan but I like the name," said Kgomotso Mokgashwe, a Johannesburg resident.
Durban Poison takes its name from a popular strain of marijuana, notorious for its distinct smell and short flowering period.