UK: Hash Cafe Set to Open Before Change in Law

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by weedboss, Jun 29, 2003.

  1. URL:
    Newshawk: JimmyG
    Pubdate: Thu, 26 Jun 2003
    Source: Edinburgh Evening News (UK)
    Copyright: 2003 The Scotsman Publications Ltd
    Author: Sam Halstead
    Bookmark: (Cannabis - United Kingdom)


    THE man behind plans for a cannabis cafe in the Capital has said he is considering opening the venue before the Government relaxes the drug laws next year.

    Cult book publisher Kevin Williamson - who discovered Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh - had intended to open the cafe on July 1 when cannabis was expected to be reclassified as a Class C drug.

    But the Home Office has now said the softer penalties for smoking the drug will not come into effect until January at the earliest.

    Today, Mr Williamson said he was considering pressing ahead with plans to open the cafe without waiting for the law to be relaxed.

    He intends to meet with the backers of the project to discuss whether or not to open before the reclassification in January. "My gut feeling is we will move ahead despite this [delay in the Government's plans]. I will be consulting with the backers," said Mr Williamson, who accused the Government of backtracking under pressure from anti-drug campaigners.

    "The people who told us in November 2001 that the cannabis laws would be relaxed have lied after coming under pressure from anti-drug campaigners," he said.

    "I haven't worked on this for a year and a half just to give up."

    Mr Williamson's cafe would either sell cannabis or have a policy of tolerating smoking of the illegal drug on its premises.

    However, key questions about the implications of the proposed laws remained unanswered, he said.

    "Who would be legally responsible for the coffee shop, the managers or the owners? We have to look at this, we have had no information," the book publisher added.

    The delay in changing the drug laws is the second blow to Mr Williamson's plans after one of his backers pulled out last month. That has left him looking for someone else willing to invest up to UKP64,000 to avoid having to scale down the scheme.

    MPs have yet to vote on downgrading cannabis from a class B drug alongside amphetamines and barbiturates to class C.

    The Home Office has said the revised penalties for cannabis possession can only come into force after the Criminal Justice Bill is passed in parliament, and that is not now expected to happen until next year.

    A Home Office spokesman blamed the delay in bringing the Bill to parliament on the new penalties being included in the Criminal Justice Bill. "Reclassification will take effect when the new penalties for cannabis possession are in force, which is likely to be in January," he said.

    Mr Blunkett previously announced that the drug will be reclassified on July 1, becoming a class C drug rather than class B. The reclassification means that punishments for personal use will be less severe.

    Mr Blunkett's proposals to reclassify cannabis from a class B drug to a class C mean possession of small amounts of the drug will no longer be an offence worthy of arrest, and those caught with it will face only fines or cautions.

    But it remains unclear what action would be taken in the case of a "bring your own" cafe if its owners decided not to sell the drug on their premises.
  2. And let's have a big HURRAH for buddies café in Worthing, Sussex that celebrated their first anniversary last week.

    I'll find a link to the article post haste.
  3. Blunkett has given in to the minority of the ignorance of the anti cannabis campainers who need to channel their energy for good than to maintain a stupid floored law that has been wasting this countrys funds. Cannabis is here to stay what ever happens and people shouldn't feel like a criminal. your thought to be a criminal but thats only cause of a stupid law.

    There needs to be more cannabis house dealers associated with coffeeshops and we need to seperate cannabis from class A drugs and to show that cannbis is only a gate way drug because of it is associated with hard drugs and dealer with all types of drugs that they have.

    Blunkett needs to get cannabis into the open so as to lower crime free up the Police for real crime and at the same time this would make the Police more accepted and everyone needs to start growing their own cannabis and not be affraid.

    Vote Liberal Democrat or your voting for the past.
  4. hey, sureshot, the Cannabis Cafe in worthing is gone now :(

    i know, cos i knew a guy at college who worked there.

    sad :( cos it's very near to me.
  5. D9/

    That's funny, because my Mrs was at the party and we were both there only a few days before!! God, that 'cid last week must have been strong.

    They have closed Bongchuffa and the one above that garage (the name escapes me) but Buddies is still operating on an occasional (better than that but I'm not in a creative writing kinda mood) basis.

    Buddies has had a hard time of it of late (the pigs were searching EVERYONE who went in and out for example) but they are still struggling through. Opening is in fits because of the legal pressure; but they are opening whenever possible.

    However Blunketts change in his approach to the law and moving back the decrim plans and also stiffening the penalities for supply may well stifle the place in the future.

    I hope not as my weeks would not be the same without a coffee and a joint at Buddies.

    If you live so close feel free to visit to see for yourself:

    Buddies Cafe
    10 Coronation Buildings
    Brougham Road

    I'm sure letters of encouragement wouldn't go astray from the international amongst you either.

    Below are the latest from the local rags (The Argus and The Herald) and a really old pic of the frontage (which has changed significantly since then).

    Originally posted in Yahooka:

    After a turbulent few months for my local café there is finally some good news (second article).


    Worthing Argus

    First published on Thursday 26 June 2003:
    Split over party at raid cafe

    by Huw Borland

    Residents are furious at a controversial celebration to mark the first anniversary of alleged cannabis cafes in Worthing.

    Staff at Buddy's, in Brougham Road, had invited MPs, councillors and dignitaries to view their premises.

    The enterprise and other alleged Dutch-style cafes have been repeatedly raided by police but two sites are still up and running.

    Cafe staff insist they provide a much-need community service but Colin Gregg, of the East Worthing Action Group, is disgusted.

    He said: "This is an absolute disgrace. The police and local authorities should have done something about this a long time ago.

    "You have the feeling, with cannabis about to be downgraded in a few months, that east Worthing has been sold down the river.

    "Police have done several raids but nothing has been effective. The owners are just given back the keys each time. Each time they are raided they are back to work within 10 minutes - it has been a waste of everybody's money.

    "Whatever your views on cannabis are, whether it should be legalised or not, it is illegal and should not be allowed."

    Detective Inspector Nigel Brown is heading Operation Harrow, which is investigating the alleged cannabis cafes.

    He said: "I am disappointed that this is being celebrated. We are working hard to shut such cafes down.

    "The Bongchuffa cafe in Rowlands Road was shut down last year and last month another in Victoria Road was successfully closed. However, our information is that this has now reopened. But our investigations continue."

    Sarah Chalk, who works at Buddy's, said a 1,000-signature petition from customers supporting the cafes would be on show during the open day, as well as a 100-strong petition by nearby residents and shop owners.

    She said a lot of people in the vicinity appreciated the cafe's community work, which included maintenance of neighbouring shops.

    Ms Chalk became involved in the controversial cafes after one opened in Worthing town centre.

    She said: "I have had a couple of discussions with people outside the cafe saying that it's bringing the neighbourhood down and to go away from east Worthing.

    "My answer is to invite them in and see the place before they judge. Not many have taken us up on that offer but one couple came in and left with a slightly different opinion."



    Worthing Argus

    First published on Friday 27 June 2003:
    Cannabis councillor joins café party

    by Huw Borland

    A political leader joined traders and customers to mark the first anniversary of an alleged cannabis café in Worthing.

    Michael Russell, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Gosport Borough Council, praised staff at Buddy's, in Brougham Road, and criticised political figures in the town for not coming to the party and open day.

    He said: "If you look at what is going on today, it is fairly clear there are going to be cannabis cafes nationwide.

    "I just want to make sure that when coffee shops open in Gosport we have the information and knowledge and are able to provide cannabis users with the appropriate safeguards for themselves and for residents."

    Almost every civic dignitary in Worthing, including MPs and councillors, was sent an invitation on Monday to yesterday's celebrations but none turned up.

    Coun Russell, who describes himself as an occasional consumer of cannabis in the form of hash cakes and biscuits, said: "I think this is a missed opportunity.

    "If you are a local politician representing local people, surely the onus is on you to find out what is happening in the community."

    Sheila Player the leader of Lib Dem-controlled Worthing Borough Council, said: "I was invited but my diary was already full."

    A 1,000-signature petition from customers supporting the cafes was on show, as well as a 100-name petition by nearby residents and shop owners.

    Shirley Knapton of the next-door café Ali's Pantry, said: "When I first came here this place looked like a hovel but they have really cleaned it up.

    "They have changed it for the good and they have helped here. They are good people. The people who would shut them down have never met them."

    Attached Files:

  6. wow :D that's great!

    from the picture this looks like a different shop to the one i went to. cos i know the one i knew of is gone now.

    i'll be makin my way down to this one :D

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