Pubdate: 29 Nov 2002
Source: Argus, The (UK)
Address: Argus House, Crowhurst Road, Hollingbury, Brighton, BN1 8AR
Fax: 01273 566114
Copyright: 2002 Newsquest Media Group
Author: Huw Borland


The manager of a Dutch-style coffee shop has vowed to keep on trading and 
said: "They'll have to lock me up to stop me."

Cannabis campaigner Chris Baldwin was one of 12 arrested and questioned 
when 30 officers raided The Quantum Leaf in Rowlands Road, Worthing.

Today, despite attracting the attention of the law, the shop, behind 
smoking accessory shop Bongchuffa, reopened for business.

Mr Baldwin, who also owns the accessory shop, said: "We lost a bit of money 
in the raid and quite a lot of cannabis was taken away but that's okay.

"The most amazing thing about it is that after the raid, 12 people who are 
part of it formed the opinion we would open as normal. I have never seen 
them on such a high - we are even more determined to stay open."

The cafe's digital display, which had read "152 days and still not busted," 
was updated to "Busted at last but still open."

Mr Baldwin, who was the Legalise Cannabis Alliance candidate for East 
Worthing and Shoreham in the last general election, declined to give exact 
details of the cafe's operation because of the legal action.

But he said: "We are running a Dutch-style coffee shop - make want you want 
from that.

"Hundreds of people come here and smoke. Whether they bust us or the law 
changes, they have got to lock me up if they want to stop me."

The campaigner said the cafe's profits were used to subsidise people with 
disabilities, help fund the Legalise Cannabis Alliance and support 
community projects - the cafe donated UKP 50 to Worthing's Christmas lights 

Mr Baldwin said: "A lot of our disabled clients do not have a social life 
outside this place.

"We had our seats done with a wheelchair point so they do not have to feel 
like a second-class citizen when chairs have to be moved for them.

"We are here to stay. If they move us on from this place, we will find 
another and start again. The camaraderie here is beautiful and so strong." 
The raid, which happened on Wednesday, followed a number of complaints to 
police by nearby residents.

Mr Baldwin said: "It's up to the police. We just carry on regardless but I 
think it was pointless. Our relationship with the community has been fantastic.

"I do not know how many called in to complain but I think you'll find even 
more people want us here.

"I believe society needs coffee shops. One or two is not enough for a town 
of this size. Just like pubs, it is a place of leisure to go to for people 
who do not want to drink alcohol."

A 55-year-old woman customer from Worthing said she smokes cannabis to 
relieve the pain of osteoarthritis.

She said: "I smoke it regularly because I suffer pain in my back. It allows 
me more movement. It's a relief because pain killers only do so much.

"I think this cafe is marvellous because they are helping people who need 
help. The raid was a shame because they are helping the disabled."

Mr Baldwin has another Dutch-style coffee shop in east Worthing.