A Green Party Councillor on the Isle of Thanet has proposed the opening of a cannabis café and is holding a public meeting on March 15th.
The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has been in the news making headlines again raising the issue of Britain’s drugs policies saying that the war on drugs is “unwinnable” and the “conspiracy of silence” needs to end. Sharing the article on Facebook, Councillor Ian Driver announced that “The debate on drugs is hotting up”, followed by his plans to hold the first meeting in Broadstairs to discuss the possibility of opening a venue where people could bring and smoke their own cannabis.
The elected official has invited a guest panel to speak on the evening of the event, which he says has already attracted quite some attention. Visitors to the Facebook event page have left comments commending the idea:
“I’m not a user but I did live in Amsterdam for 8 years. I think the addition of some chilled ‘cannabis culture’ to Thanet is a fantastic idea.”
“I can see this being the topic of a very heated debate, glad someone decided to get the ball rolling”.
Agreeing with MP’s such as Paul Flynn (Labour), Nick Clegg (the Liberal Democrat leader) and Caroline Lucas (the only standing MP of the Green Party), Councillor Driver stated, “I personally believe that the current approach of prohibition is becoming less and less sustainable and that we need to have a grown up policy debate in this country and world-wide” adding, “that’s why I have raised the issue of a Cannabis Cafe in Thanet to get the debate going.”
He says he no longer smokes cannabis but does drink alcohol, supporting decriminalisation of drug use and legalisation “in some cases”.
Those invited to speak at the meeting include Professor at the University of Kent, Alex Stevens, the founder of the first UK cannabis café “The Dutch Experience” in Stockport a decade ago, Colin Davies, and UKCSC President Greg de Hoedt. Councillor Driver has also expressed interest in having a drugs worker, health care professional or GP to come and offer their opinion on the panel to provide a balanced debate.
Police and Crime Commissioner Anne Barnes has also had an invitation. Cannabis prohibition is costing the police force £500 million a year and is merely making a dent in the scale of the problem which is recognised by the Thanet representative, “decriminalisation and legalisation will save an awful lot of money in policing and will generate considerable tax income and create jobs.”
“It will also drive out criminal gangs from the drugs industry and put an end to people getting records for victimless crime.”
Clearly this is a much understood issue and one that effects Kent, one story reported in the Independent was of a cannabis farm that took over a derelict building had over 6000 plants in it and was estimated to churning out between 4 and 6 million a year. It is not known if the cannabis was destined for the streets of Kent, the UK or anywhere internationally.
The meeting will take place on Saturday 15th of March at the Red Hall, 11 Grosvenor Road, Broadstairs, starting at 1pm for two and a half hours. It is advised to keep an eye out for updates in case the venue has to be upsized due to the interest in such a discussion.
There has been a handful of café’s in the past two decades that were open to the public and left free to operate for between 9 and 14 months before being closed down by police, the last of which was over a decade ago. A number of private cannabis clubs do operate in various parts of the country and have done for a number of years.
“I appreciate that feelings run strong on this issue but I believe in having an open debate on controversial issues such as this”
“I want this meeting to be transparent and above board.”