November 15, 2001
Hundreds Flock to First-Ever British "Cannabis Café"
Police Turn a Blind Eye to UK Smoking Establishment
Stockton, United Kingdom: England's first and only Amsterdam-style marijuana coffee shop is drawing approximately 500 patrons per day, reports Britain's Guardian Unlimited Observer newspaper. The Dutch Experience café, which allows recreational and medicinal marijuana users to openly consume pot on the premises, has steadily grown in popularity since its September 15 opening while simultaneously attracting only minor attention from police.
"The success of the Dutch Experience is further evidence of the sweeping support for marijuana-law reform among the British public, politicians and law enforcement," said NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre. In October, British Home Secretary David Blunkett announced that marijuana would be reclassified so that its possession would no longer be an arrestable offense. Britain's Police Foundation endorsed the enactment of similar Parliamentary changes last year.
Despite a pair of initial police raids, the Dutch Experience has operated uninterrupted since September 22. Co-owner Colin Davies, a patient and long-time medical marijuana activist, says that the club intends to raise funds from recreational users to provide medical pot to patients free of charge.
Stockport city council leader Fred Ridley told the Observer that they have had no public complaints about the café, which operates from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. In addition, local MEP (Member of European Parliament) Chris Davies (Liberal-Democrat Party) actively supports the venture. "I applaud it," said Davies, who has visited the club twice. "It seems [to be] an excellent way of meeting people's desire to try things other than alcohol without leading them on to harder things."
Additional cafés may soon be opening in the cities of Worthing, Taunton and Brixton, the newspaper said.
A similar café, the HC Marijuana Users Teahouse of Canada, recently opened without incident in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Teahouse allows patients licensed by Health Canada to consume pot openly, but does not sell or distribute cannabis on the premises. The Canadian government legalized the use and possession of medical marijuana for qualified patients this summer.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director, at (202) 483-8751. Further information on the Dutch Experience is available online at: http://www.dutchexperience.org.
Judge in CMRC Case Grants Feds Access to All Medi-Pot Patient Files
Sacramento, CA: A federal judge ruled Tuesday that all of the estimated 6,000 patient and client files seized from the offices of the California Medical Research Center (CMRC) shall remain in the hands of federal prosecutors. Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr., overruled a magistrate's order that allowed the government access to some of the files only after an independent, court-appointed "special master" had reviewed them for relevance to an ongoing criminal investigation. J. David Nick, attorney for the facility's proprietors - attorney Dale Schafer and physician Marion "Molly" Fry - will appeal the decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Federal agents raided the offices of the CMRC in El Dorado County on September 28, seizing 32 marijuana plants, computers and thousands of medical records from the center's members. Fry, a medical marijuana patient, and her husband were not arrested in the raid and have yet to be formally charged with a crime.
For more information, please call Donna Shea, NORML Foundation Legal Director, at (202) 483-8751.
Key West Legal Seminar Registration Still Available
Washington, DC: NORML is still accepting registrations for this year's NORML Legal Committee Seminar in Key West, Florida. This year's event will take place Thursday, November 29 through Saturday, December 1 at the Pier House Resort and Caribbean Spa.
NORML's annual seminar - now in its 16th year - features nationally recognized criminal defense attorneys and is fully accredited in every state that requires continuing legal education (CLE) for attorneys. The program runs each day from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., leaving ample time in the afternoon for sunbathing, relaxing or exploring the community of Key West. This year's festivities include a sunset reception on Thursday evening and a special NORML benefit banquet at Mangoes restaurant on Saturday evening.
For more details, or to register online, please visit NORML's website at: http://www.norml.org/calendar/keywest2001.shtml or contact Kris Krane at (202) 483-5500.
Abstracts Available From International Medical Marijuana Conference
Cologne, Germany: The International Association for Cannabis as Medicine (IACM) is making abstracts available from their first-ever IACM Conference on Cannabis and Cannabinoids in Berlin, Germany. Presenters at the event included UC San Francisco AIDS researcher Donald Abrams, Marijuana Medical Handbook co-author Tod Mikuriya, International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) founder Richard Musty and several others.
The IACM is offering a 38-page volume of abstracts (in English only) for $10 (US) or 20 marks (Germany). Abstracts will also be reprinted in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics. An online version of the Journal's charter issue is now available online at: http://www.cannabis-med.org/english/home.htm.
For more information, please visit the IACM's website at: http://www.cannabis-med.org.
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