Despite the alacrity with which authorities in Manchester moved to shut down Colin Davies' cannabis cafe last month (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/203.html#withinminutes), activists in Brixton continue to plan for such marijuana retail establishments to open there. Unlike Manchester, the London neighborhood has been the scene of a months-long experiment with marijuana decriminalization, with police no longer arresting people holding or smoking it. Cannabis Action, a British marijuana reform activism group, last week presented a plan for three Dutch-style cannabis cafes, including one with take-out service.
The proposal comes after a series of consultative meetings organized by Cannabis Action with youth workers, Brixton residents, and pro-legalization campaigners and amidst the rapid dissolution of the consensus in favor of marijuana prohibition in Great Britain (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/202.html#brixton).
Under the scheme drawn up by Cannabis Action's Tim Summers, who has helped organize major pro-cannabis marches in London for the past three years, three cannabis cafes are envisioned. They will be the follow-up to the six-month decrim experiment in the borough of Lambeth, of which Brixton is a part. The first would offer a licensed 24-hour carryout service to serve "drug tourists" and London residents. The second may be sponsored by the area's large Rastafarian community, and a third could be operated by the local hippie community, Summers said.
"We would follow the tested Dutch regulations that mean no advertising, no sales of hard drugs, no nuisance, no alcohol, no sale to those under 18 years, and no sale of more than 30 grams of cannabis for each transaction," he told the Guardian. "The idea is to supersede the criminal trade by being open long hours and offering a wide choice of resin and herbal cannabis at cheaper prices."
Governmental authorities moved quickly to pass the buck. The Lambeth council told the Guardian it was not a licensing authority for cannabis. The Metropolitan Police, who are overseeing the successful decrim experiment in Lambeth, told the newspaper the Home Office would have to make the decision. The Home Office has not commented.