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UK: 500 pound fine for the owner of capital's first cannabis

Gordon Smith

The Scotsman

Thursday 02 Sep 2004


THE owner of Scotland's first cannabis cafe has been fined UKP500 after
admitting allowing the drug to be smoked on the premises.

Paul Stewart, 37, of Cadiz Street, Edinburgh, yesterday admitted permitting
cannabis resin to be smoked in The Purple Haze Cafe in Portland Place,
Edinburgh, on 29 January this year - the day cannabis was reclassified from
a Class B to Class C drug.

John Barclay, the procurator-fiscal, told Sheriff Noel McPartlin at
Edinburgh Sheriff Court that Stewart had declared his intention of
operating his take-away cafe as a cannabis cafe between 4pm and 8pm.

The accused said he wanted to raise public awareness of the
reclassification of the drug and to encourage licensed cafes similar to
those operating in the Netherlands.

Stewart was seen by senior police officers on 19 December 2003, and warned
that the reclassification of the drug did not rule out criminal offences
being committed.

Mr Barclay told the court that on opening day - 29 January - there was "a
co-ordinated police response". All those entering the premises were given
letters warning them of possible offences.

At about 7pm the premises were crowded and officers saw one female with a
light green bong and a male with a pipe.

Defending, Matthew Berlow said that Stewart had been attempting to
highlight the hypocrisy of the drug laws.




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