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UK: Drugs campaigner to hold talks with police before opening his 'cannabis social club' in Manchester (Colin Davies)
Manchester Evening News
Monday 06 Jan 2014
A drugs campaigner is to hold crunch talks with police before he opens a 'cannabis social club' in Manchester.
Colin Davies, 56, is to meet with senior officers this week before the opening of The New Way Cafe, on February 1.
Last month the M.E.N. revealed that Mr Davies - once jailed for drug trafficking and famous for handing over a bouquet of flowers containing cannabis to the Queen - was heading for another collision with the authorities after announcing his intention to open his cafe on Tariff Street, in the Northern Quarter.
He said at the time cannabis wouldn't be traded on the property although members would be invited to bring their own drugs for personal consumption.
Now he says cannabis may not be consumed at the cafe and that it would merely serve as meeting place for 'like-minded people'.
"I just want to explain exactly what we'll be doing. We won't be selling cannabis. It's for like minded people. We don't want to break the law because if we do we'll be closed down," said Mr Davies, from Stockport.
Possession and supply of cannabis remains against the law despite long-standing campaigns to legalise the drug.
It was reclassified as a Class B drug in 2009 after it had been downgraded for the previous five years to Class C. Possession of it carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail.
Mr Davies said: "The reaction we've had from members of the public has been phenomenal. We've had 5,000 likes on our Facebook page. It shows how popular this is. The drugs laws in this country just don't make sense."
He said hundreds of people had already signed up to be members of the 'social club'.
Mr Davies was jailed for three years in 2002 after a jury found him guilty of importing and supplying drugs.
He had opened Dutch Experience, in Stockport, the UK's first ever cannabis cafe, amid a blaze of publicity in September, 2001. Police raided it within ten minutes of its launch.
In court prosecutors said the cafe was in fact an elaborate smokescreen for the trafficking of drugs from Holland.
The father-of-two first came to the attention of the police in 1998 when he was charged with unlawful possession of drugs but he was acquitted after claiming he grew marijuana in his flat in Stockport to relieve back pain.
The former joiner fractured three bones in his spine following a fall in 1995.
He went on to become a central figure in a national campaign to legalise dope and set up the Medical Marijuana Co-operative which involved the sale of cannabis to members on a not-for-profit basis.
He faced more drugs charges in 1999 but was cleared after claiming his action didn't amount to unlawful drug dealing.
He hit the headlines again in 2000 when he gave the Queen a bouquet of flowers which was actually cannabis. He escaped any legal action.
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