Editorial Comment on Worthing’s Cannabis Cafes
Source: The Argus, UK
Section: Editorial comment
Pub Date: Monday 12 January 2004
Contact: letters@the argus.co.uk
Ref: http://www.ccguide.org.uk/cannabis cafes.html
CAMPAIGNERS say smoking cannabis is a harmless activity which has less of an impact on society than alcohol.
Opponents say the drug can lead to mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, and inevitably leads the user to harder narcotics.
It is true his management of the Quantum Leaf café quite simply broke the law. The class B drug was readily available at the Worthing store, he was caught with large amounts of cannabis and police had gathered a wealth of evidence to prove it.
But even the trial judge said he was reluctant to jail him. Judge John Sessions said releasing Baldwin would make a mockery of the law and so he had no alternative.
When the Home Office reclassifies cannabis later this month, there will be lower penalties for cannabis users and authorities expect many more Dutch-style cafes to open as a result.
This means the courts and police will have to spend many more hours and direct many more resources at closing them down and prosecuting those behind them.
With prisons already overcrowded, the Government may again have to consider if such a punishment is really helping to protect society from what most people would now consider to be a very minor offence.