Cannabis Cafes in London? Brixton Discusses Amsterdam-Style Coffee Houses 9/7/01

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!

With the London borough of Lambeth's experiment with marijuana decriminalization now well underway -- police in the borough no longer arrest cannabis possessors, but merely snatch their stashes and issue warnings -- Lambeth activists are looking to the future, and they see the borough's predominantly Caribbean section of Brixton taking on something of the aspect of Amsterdam. In the first of a series of projected community meetings organized by Cannabis Action London, the cannabis coffee house approach pioneered by the Dutch garnered loud and boisterous support.

The debate, held last week at the Juice Bar in Brixton, showed that at least some segments of the community felt the decriminalization experiment did not go far enough. According to the London Evening Standard, a majority at the debate felt that with cannabis having been widely available in Brixton for decades, the logical next step would be cannabis cafes.

"The opening up of places where people come to smoke releases huge amounts of local government and central government revenue," said Brixton resident and Lambeth schools worker Michael Morris.

Lambeth Green Party drug policy spokesman Shane Collins also called for the cafes. "There should be licensed coffee shops for cannabis," he told the crowd. "We are not going to be given coffee shops by those people in suits. If we are going to have them, we have got to take them and set them up."

Drug reformers were not the only ones speaking up for coffee shops. "Entrepreneurs should seize the moment," said pub owner Martyn Cannan. "If a cafe is licensed and registered in a safe and correct manner, you will know what you buying. Those people who do not want anything to do with cannabis will know where not to go."

Others at the meeting expressed anger at the prevalence of hard drug dealers in the neighborhood and suggested that opening coffee houses would free the police to deal with them, the newspaper reported.

Lambeth councilor Johanna Sherrington, of the ruling Labor Party, however, had words of warning for coffee house enthusiasts. "This is not a decision for Lambeth alone," she said. "The police have the ultimate say about these issues. We have got neighbors. We can't act in isolation. We haven't blocked [the decriminalization experiment], but that doesn't mean we are pro-legalization," she added.

While telling the crowd she had an "open mind" on the issue and that the council's position was to "wait and see," Sherrington also hastened to remind her audience: "Let's not forget that cannabis is illegal."

Cannabis Action London activist Alastair Williams differed with Sherrington, calling the coffee house idea "a socially responsible" approach. "It is within the power of the police authority to have pilot schemes and alternative ways of policing drugs in society," he argued.

Lambeth police have so far not commented on the coffee house idea.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #202, 9/7/01 Editorial: How Soon We Forget | Michigan Drug Warriors Drive Marijuana Activists to the Brink, Then Gun Them Down: Standoff Ends With Two Dead at Rainbow Farm | Federal Prosecutors Running Scared in 9th Circuit, Ask Court to Reverse Buckland Finding on Mandatory Minimums and Post-Conviction Sentence Enhancements | Annals of Prop. 36:00:00 Orange County Court Extends Provisions to Paraphernalia Offenses, Alameda DAs Fight to Keep Drug Offenders in Jail Pending Conviction | Veterans Group Passes Anti-Drug War Resolution | Cannabis Cafes in London? Brixton Discusses Amsterdam-Style Coffee Houses | Narco News Gains Congressional Ally in "Drug War on Trial" Lawsuit | Colombian President Calls for Global Summit to Evaluate Anti-Drug Policies | Newsbrief: Needle Exchange in Springfield and Atlanta | Witness for Peace Delegation to Take on Drug War | Net Scan: Alan Bock, Jamaica Commission | T-shirts for Victory! Special Offer and Appeal from DRCNet This Month | Action Alerts: Ecstasy Bill, HEA, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana, John Walters | HEA Campaign Still Seeking Student Victim Cases -- New York Metropolitan Area Especially Urgent | The Reformer's Calendar
Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]