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UK’s Possible Cannabis Legalisation

UK’s Possible Cannabis Legalisation

Could the cogs be in motion for the legalisation of cannabis? Campaigners seem to think so as the battle for a cannabis café in Britain has begun waging once again.

Councillor Ian Driver of Thanet District Council’s Green Party in Kent has said that this week marks the beginning of the search for possible venues for a cannabis café in Margate or Ramsgate, both in Thanet. In fact, in anticipation of a change in the law or reclassification of marijuana, and in the ever-increasing popularity of the idea of legalisation, he has already submitted proposals.

“I am confident that we’ll be able to establish a group of people who’ll take the cannabis café idea forward and will campaign on behalf of cannabis users in Thanet,” he said.

On Saturday, a meeting was held to discuss such action. It was found that a good proportion of attendees of this conference was in favour of opening up somewhere where recreational cannabis smokers, and those who smoke it for its medicinal qualities, would be able to use the drug in a chilled and relaxed environment.

“It makes eminent sense to have a nice relaxing atmosphere where cannabis users… can get together and enjoy themselves, just as other people go out for a drink,” explained Driver.

The University of Kent’s Alex Stevens, professor of criminal justice, as well as representatives from the UK Cannabis Social Clubs and the Kent Cannabis Consortium, were among speakers at meeting. An invitation had been extended to the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes, who declined to attend.

Driver said that he was disappointed by the lack of police presence at the event, considering that senior politicians and police officers have agreed that an informed national debate on the policy is needed. “Just two weeks ago, a government e-petition…, calling for a review of UK drugs laws, received more than 135,000 signatures,” he said.

The idea is to emulate Amsterdam’s own cannabis cafés, where support from the local authorities and agreements with the local police to not enforce the law mean that a café would be possible.

Senior Policy Analyst for the Transform Drug Policy Foundation (TDPF), Steve Rolles, advised the Uruguayan government on its recent decision to legalise cannabis earlier this year, and is arguing for a regulated market for the drug in the UK. “What is really needed is a national level agreement, as they have in the Netherlands,” he pointed out, “or better still, a change in the law to allow regulated productions and sales from licensed premises.”

The Kent Police are sticking with their stance of not permitting the use of a controlled substance, but Driver is hoping that talking to them and asking them to “be tolerant of the café” will help make it become a reality. The cogs do indeed seem to be in motion for a change in the law – could it be just a matter of time?


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