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Saturday, 15 September, 2001, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Cannabis man arrested at cafe opening
Colin Davies arrest
Colin Davies is led away from his premises by police
A drugs campaigner has been arrested after attempting to open the UK's first Amsterdam-style marijuana cafe.

Colin Davies, who has called for legalisation of the drug for medicinal purposes, was taken away by two plain clothes detectives from his cafe in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

The arrest came just minutes after he had opened the doors of "The Dutch Experience", a cafe modelled on the coffee shops of Amsterdam.

A scuffle broke out shortly after 1000 BST on Saturday between Mr Davies and members of Greater Manchester Police, which had promised to rigorously enforce the law regarding cannabis.

Disabled users

Fifteen minutes later he was led away amidst shouts from his supporters, one who cried: "He's a healer not a dealer."

A Greater Manchester Police spokeswoman said: "A man has been arrested for the possession of cannabis with intent to supply."

More police officers arrived at 1030 BST and entered the cafe where they carried out a search of everybody there.

Supporters of Mr Davies began smoking cannabis outside the cafe as the police watched.

Wheelchair users lit pipes filled with the drug as police officers stood yards away.

'Undignified experience'

Later a police spokesman said six people in total had been arrested at the cafe.

They said three Dutch men, a Dutch woman and two UK male resident had been arrested on suspicion of being concerned with the supply of controlled drugs.

Kate Bradley, a former policewoman with West Midlands Police, has smoked cannabis since 1991 after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Mrs Bradley, of Telford, Shropshire, was not arrested and was pushed in her wheelchair out of the cafe.

She said that when the police raided the premises it was an "undignified and horrendous experience".

Mr Davies founded the Medical Marijuana Co-operative to help fellow pain sufferers by providing them with cannabis.

Broken spine

He said he was forced to use the drug out of medical necessity and supplied it to two sufferers of multiple sclerosis for the same reason.

Mr Davies, who lives in Stockport, had flagged up the cafe as "the UK's first Medipot Coffee Shop".

He said the cafe had facilities to accommodate disabled visitors who used the drug for pain relief.

Mr Davies' father, 71-year-old Colin Davies, said his son smoked the drug to relieve his pain since he broke his spine in a 70-feet fall down a riverbank four years ago.

The BBC's John Brain
"The Police insisted they were just upholding the law"
See also:

02 Aug 01 | UK Politics
Drug czar attacks cannabis debate
15 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Cannabis ban faces investigation
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