Sinds kort is het bezit van hash en wiet in het Verenigd Koninkrijk niet meer verboden. Het eerste Schotse cannabis café opent dan ook binnenkort.
Maar rook zal er niet te zien zijn: de door bezoekers zelf meegebrachte cannabis zal via een verdamper worden genoten.
RAYMOND DUNCAN January 28 2004
THE first cannabis cafe is due to open in Scotland with a health warning: cigarettes, cigars and pipes will be banned so that regulars are able to enjoy their cannabis in comfort.
Tobacco smoke, the coffee shop owners have decided, is just too unhealthy.
Instead customers bringing their own cannabis will be handed a vaporiser, which heats the smoking mixture inside a jam jar contraption, allowing users to inhale through a tube.
The cannabis campaigners said they would convert the Purple Haze Internet cafe, at Portland Place, Leith into a private members club in a deliberate challenge to police. The Scottish Cannabis Coffeeshop Movement said it was part of its campaign to make Scotland a cannabis-tolerant zone.
Although cannabis will not be sold at the cafe, members will be invited to bring their own from tomorrow when the drug is reclassified from class B to class C.
Despite the change which will mean possession in England and Wales is no longer an arrestable offence, instead meriting a police caution, ministers in Scotland have made it clear offenders will still be reported to the procurator-fiscal.
Action by Lothian and Borders police tomorrow is likely to be swift. A spokesman said that what was intended was illegal and the creation of a private members club was no way round it.
Paul Stewart, the cafe owner, said there would be no sale of cannabis which, according to research, can lead to a range of psychotic symptoms.
Evidence suggests even infrequent users of the drug face a one-in-10 chance of becoming dependent and this may be as high as one in three for those who are regularly using it.
Mr Stewart said that people would have to bring their own small amounts of cannabis.
He indicated the premises would be “tobacco free”. Anyone wishing to take cannabis could use a vaporiser, which he displayed at a press conference at the Scottish Parliament. “If people do decide to use cannabis they will be given these to use.”
The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland said cannabis remained a controlled drug and “it is therefore important to emphasise that possession of cannabis remains an arrestable offence.”