Braintree: Candidate calls for drug cafes

Source: Essex Evening Gazette, UK

Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Subject: Braintree: Candidate calls for drug cafes

Author: Martin Buxton



Cited: Don Barnard

Legalise Cannabis Alliance


A 60-year-old candidate for the up-coming Braintree Council by-election has called for Dutch-style cannabis cafes to be created in Braintree.

Don Barnard, who is standing for the Legalise Cannabis Alliance, said a more tolerant view of cannabis possession and minor cannabis offences would give police more time to deal with more serious crimes.

He feels the building of coffee shops, such as those in Amsterdam, would provide a safe place for people to use cannabis.

Mr Barnard, of Aetheric Road, Braintree, said: "We should stop arresting people for possession of drugs, which would save a lot of police time and money.

"We could then use this money to build places for people to go, where they can use them off the streets."

But a police spokesman said: "Essex Police will continue to uphold the law as passed by Parliament."

The other candidates in the Braintree West election, which takes place on Thursday, January 31, did not agree with the idea of coffee shops.

Matthew Buchan, Independent, said: "I think it's a disgusting idea. I can't speak for the people but I don't know anyone I've spoken to in the area who would agree with it apart from one or two of the young people."

Roger Walters, Conservative, said: "Having been in countries where they have such cafes I can't see it adding to the sort of culture we need to be encouraging in Braintree."

A spokesman on behalf of Labour candidate Graham Darwood said: "The council's job is to keep young people out of trouble with the police, not to get them in trouble.

"Legalisation of cannabis is an issue for the Government not local councils."

Terry Brooks, Liberal Democrat, said: "It's a national issue not a local issue. The district council can't alter anything of that sort."

Duncan Stewart, of the Green Party, said: "Personally I am not happy about this sort of cafe being opened in Braintree. I am concerned it could be encouraging more people to take up the use of drugs."

The by-election was called after Labour councillor Christopher Bacon resigned his Braintree West seat when his job in Singapore became permanent.