Pubdate: Mon, 10 Sep 2001
Source: Scotsman (UK)
Contact:  The Scotsman Publications Ltd 2001
Author: John Innes


BRITAIN'S first Dutch-style cannabis cafe, which will openly defy the law 
on the sale of drugs, is to be launched next weekend.

Colin Davies, founder of the British Medical Marijuana Co-operative, has 
revealed he plans to open the Dutch Experience "coffee shop" in a shopping 
centre in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

Mr Davies caused a storm of protest a year ago when he presented the Queen 
with a bouquet of marijuana during a Royal visit to an arts centre. Now he 
says the controversial cafe will sell three types of weed and three types 
of hash in two and five gram bags with ready-rolled joints for novices.

He has already recruited five members of staff who have all worked in 
Holland's legal cannabis cafes.

In a break from other public cannabis suppliers, Mr Davies says the drug 
will be on sale to both medical and recreational users.

"Social users will subsidise the low-cost medical users," he said. "I think 
Britain is ready for this. We want to be transparent and act in a civilised 
way. "

Mr Davies, 44, who has a spinal injury, has been arrested twice for 
possession and supply of cannabis but has been found not guilty on both 
occasions as he argued he needed it to relieve chronic back pain.

In 1993, a cannabis cafe-shop opened in Brighton, becoming known as the 
"90-minutes cafe" because that was how long it managed to stay open.

Police have warned that the cannabis cafe is illegal and that they will 
have to deal with the sale of any drugs. A spokesman for Greater Manchester 
Police said the law on the supply and control of drugs was quite clear and 
the priority of the police was to enforce the law.
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