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UK: Cannabis Campaigner Vows: "We Will Stay Open"

Edinburgh Evening News

Friday 30 Jan 2004


CANNABIS campaigner Kevin Williamson pledged the cafe would re-open today,
despite three people being charged with drugs offences.

A man and a woman were charged with possession of cannabis at the Purple
Haze Cafe in Portland Street, Leith, while cafe owner Paul Stewart was
charged with allowing the premises to be used for drugs misuse. The charges
coincided with the reclassification of the drug, from Class B to Class C.

Today Mr Williamson said: "None of the rules were broken last night. The 70
to 100 people in the premises observed the rules for the duration we were

Mr Williamson said the two members charged with possession by police would
not be barred from the club. He added: "I don't want to make any comment on
the charges but they did not break any of the club rules and will be
allowed back in when we open again."

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: "Three people, including two
males aged 43 and 37 and a female aged 35, have been charged in connection
with the misuse of drugs at the Purple Haze Cafe in Portland Street. This
was as the result of action by police who were in attendance at the
premises for a large part of the day. All three will be the subject of a
report to the procurator fiscal."

The police spokesman said customers had been warned they could be arrested
if seen with any illegal substances.

The cannabis cafe, a former "greasy spoon", has been launched as a private
members' club and is backed by the Scottish Cannabis Coffeeshop Movement.
The plan is to
highlight what campaigners cite as a confusing legal situation surrounding
the possession and use of the drug.




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