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UK: Doncaster cannabis club owner aims to break drug's 'stigma'

Peter Reed and Katie Galbraith

BBC News

Monday 22 Jan 2024

The owner of a new "cannabis club" where members would be free to smoke marijuana has said he wanted to break the "stigma" around the drug.

Dan Taylor said he had received a "good response" to plans to open the venue in a former hair salon in Doncaster.

He said he believed the premises would operate lawfully because it would not be supplying or growing marijuana.

South Yorkshire Police said it would "work closely" with the premises to tackle drug incidents in the city.

Mr Taylor said he wanted to create a venue where the drug could be used responsibly.

He told BBC Radio Sheffield: "You find social clubs for people who drink alcohol. This is about creating a safe space for like-minded people to consume cannabis, both medicinally and recreationally, without being put into criminal courts."

"There's a stigma around cannabis and that needs to change, I think.

"Anybody who can get hold of cannabis can use it. We want to ensure it's used safely and responsibly and get the dealer side of things off the streets."

Mr Taylor intends to open the club in a former hair salon in the Wheatley area

Plans for the club include a board games area and "quiet corners" where members can sit and read. Drinks and snacks will be on offer.

Mr Taylor said he wanted to be "transparent" with the local community about the club and how it runs, and insisted he believed it would not cause neighbours any issues.

He added: "I do understand why a lot of generations don't get on with it, but I'm not entirely sure why there's such a bad stigma around it to be honest.

"It should be legalised in my view. It's got endless medicinal purposes and it helps people more than you might think."

But one neighbour, who did not want to give her name, told the BBC she was unhappy with the plans.

"I don't like the idea," she said. "I don't think anybody does. My granddaughter has been trying to get it stopped.

"It will seep through my walls and it's going to stink.

"I do think it will make crime here worse."

A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said: "We are aware of the opening of the Cannabis Social Club and Harm Reduction Centre, Culture Cannabis Club, and will be working closely with the premises owners to continue to tackle drug-related incidents within Doncaster."

The acting director of public health at Doncaster Council, Rachael Leslie, said: "We are aware of a plan to open a cannabis club in Doncaster and we are looking into this further, working alongside the police.

"At present we have not received any formal submission for the proposals."




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