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Sunday, 16 September, 2001, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
Cannabis cafe owner released
Colin Davies arrest
Colin Davies was led away from his premises by police
A campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis who was arrested after attempting to open the UK's first Amsterdam-style marijuana cafe has been released without charge.

Colin Davies, 44, was questioned by detectives on suspicion of possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

He was arrested on Saturday morning just minutes after opening the doors of "The Dutch Experience" cafe, in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

Mr Davies was involved in scuffles with uniformed officers before being led away by undercover detectives.

I do not blame the police officers who were there yesterday. They were doing their jobs. It is at Government level where something needs to be done

Colin Davies

He was questioned at Stockport police station until 0330 on Sunday when he was released on police bail without charge.

Another man and four Dutch people, three men and a woman, were also arrested on suspicion of being concerned with the supply of a Class B drug.

They have all been released on police bail.

A Greater Manchester Police spokeswoman said: "All six people arrested have been released on bail pending further inquiries.

"Some substances have been seized and will undergo forensic examination."

Relieves symptons

Mr Davies said after his release he was "disgusted" with the police's handling of the situation.

He said the cafe was open again, but would not be selling cannabis or allowing the drug to be smoked on its premises.

Dozens of people from across the country turned up for the opening of the cafe.

Its aim was to sell cannabis at a cheaper rate to ill people who say it helps relieve symptoms.

At least 10 people in wheelchairs, some of them with multiple sclerosis including a former police officer, were at the shop to support Mr Davies.

"Our aim was to provide ill people with this medicine," said Mr Davies.

"Have the police nothing better to do than disrupt ill people's lives?

"We are now looking at alternative ways of running the business, which is almost a reverse of our aim. It puts the selling of cannabis back on to the streets."

'Doing their jobs'

Mr Davies continued his call for the government to change the law and legalise cannabis.

He said: "I do not blame the police officers who were there yesterday. They were doing their jobs. It is at government level where something needs to be done."

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

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
17 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Cannabis ban faces investigation
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