Cumbria Cannabis Cafe is Inevitable

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Apr 5, 2002.

  1. Editorial
    Source: News & Star UK

    Cannabis campaigners Mark and Lezley Gibson have claimed a café selling the drug in Cumbria is "inevitable" after attending the world's first course on the venture. The Gibsons spent five days at a "cannabis college" in Holland learning how to buy and sell the drug, keep customers safe and recognise quality stock.
    Today they invited police and councillors to join them on the next course to see how the cafés work. Mr Gibson also had this message for opponents: "This IS going to happen."

    Mrs Gibson, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, said the pressure to provide somewhere where people could smoke cannabis for medical reasons was becoming impossible to resist after the jailing of Stockport campaigner Colin Davies.

    Mr Davies, who opened the UK's first cannabis café, is in Strangeways prison awaiting trial on drugs charges.


    "Colin left 200 people without medication," said Mrs Gibson. "They had a safe supply and they still need to get cannabis now to relieve their symptoms.

    "That is 200 people forced into an illicit market with 200 different dealers with no quality control."

    Britain's second cannabis café opened yesterday in Bournemouth with little interference from the police.

    A Cumbria police spokesman reiterated today that it was still an offence to possess and supply cannabis.

    He added: "While it is the responsibility of the police to enforce the law, it is not our duty to amend or create legislation. We would suggest that if Mr Gibson is pressing for a change in the law, it would be more appropriate for him to contact those that shape legislation.

    "We will continue to take action and apply appropriate penalties against those who break the law in relation to controlled drugs."

    The Gibsons, from Alston, declined to reveal when or where they intended to set up a Cumbrian café.

    But Mr Gibson said he wanted to take police and local politicians to see how the system worked in the Dutch city of Haarlem.

    "I want to start a dialogue," he said. "I am deadly serious about taking a senior member of the police over there to see for themselves.

    "We are fully trained now and this is going to happen. It is inevitable."

    The course, part-organised by Dutch coffee shop mogul Nol van Schaik, drew delegates from across Britain and Europe.

    It included "work experience" in several cafés and ended with a 45-minute multiple-choice exam.

    Mrs Gibson said recreational users would be allowed to smoke cannabis in their café, but would subsidise "medicinal" users.

    She claimed the business could also give them a chance to warn teenagers about the dangers of other drugs.

    "Kids would listen to you because they would see you as cool," she said. "You would be able to say, 'Hang on a minute - maybe these other things aren't cool after all.'"

    Mrs Gibson hit the headlines in 2000 when a jury refused to convict her for possessing cannabis.

    They accepted her argument that NOT taking the drug would cause serious injury or death.

    Last year a House of Lords committee said the medicinal use of cannabis should be legalised.

    They claimed people who take cannabis to ease the symptoms of debilitating conditions such as MS should not live in fear of prosecution.

    Home Secretary David Blunkett has already revealed he is "minded" to reclassify cannabis as a Class C drug - meaning people could smoke it in public without fear of arrest.

    Source: News & Star (UK)
    Published: April 2, 2002
    Copyright: 2002 News & Star

    Related Articles & Web Site:

    The Dutch Experience

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