Pubdate: Thu, 28 Mar 2002
Source: East Anglian Daily Times (UK)
Copyright: 2002 Eastern Counties Newspapers Group Ltd
Cited: Legalise Cannabis Alliance -
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


Sir - Lesley Harper, whose son became ill in January after taking 
amphetamines, is wrong to use that as an argument against the plan by Mr 
Chris Philbin of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance to open a cannabis cafe in 
Essex. ("Cannabis cafe plans slammed by mother", EADT, 22 March)

For a start there was no such thing as a cannabis cafe in Essex last January.

The chances are that her son obtained the "speed" from a local pub, street 
dealer, or dealer's house, all of which may offer a whole variety of drugs 
which, like amphetamines, are far more toxic and dangerous than any amount 
of cannabis that can be consumed.

The presence of a cannabis cafe in any community would give users somewhere 
safe to go, and somewhere safe to buy.  As in Holland, where such cafes 
have successfully operated for over 25 years and where there is a far less 
serious problem with hard drugs, the chances are that such places in the UK 
would have strict operating rules, such as no hard drugs, no youngsters, no 

Had Lesley's son chosen to use cannabis and bought it from a cannabis cafe, 
chances are he may never have been offered amphetamines.

It is quite clear that there is little that the law can do to prevent use 
of cannabis or any other drug which is so widely and easily available from 
illegal suppliers whose profits encourage diversification of drugs on offer.

That is a fault of the law and Government policy that has thrown a range of 
drugs with vastly differing risks, all into one basket.

It must be time that we adopted a policy of education and protection rather 
than punishment.   The legalisation of cannabis would enable that to happen.

Whilst having every sympathy with people who have suffered, whether from 
illegal drugs, alcohol or even coffee (which harms far more than cannabis 
does), I see no sense in sticking to a policy that is failing miserably
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