Police snuff out first cannabis joint

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The Independent Online
AT 11am everything was ready - the marijuana and honey patties laid out, Jason's mum's carrot cake (drug-free) ready for slicing. Reggae played on the stereo, hash pipes were lined up on the shelf. All Britain's first cannabis cafe lacked was a name.

'I've been waiting for it to come to me in a dream,' said the proprietor, Beki Adam, 'but it hasn't'

Andy Waller, who works for House of Hemp, manufacturers of fabric from cannabis plants, had come to Brighton to be the first customer. He paid his pounds 2 and tentatively munched on a marijuana pattie. 'It's delicious - really nice,' he said.

The pattie was made of 'manna' - sprouted wheat - organic honey and a quarter of a gramme (a tiny amount) of 'mild-grade' home- grown cannabis.

The Independent found it nutty, slimy and rather like rabbit food. It did not seem to have any discernible effect, though, as another customer said: 'This is all so weird, you probably wouldn't notice it anyway.'

Weird it was. You couldn't even get a nice cup of tea. 'I haven't had time to taste the cakes,' said Ms Adam, 27, a former BBC TV journalist. But she was not there to get people stoned. She had a message: 'Marijuana prohibition is a crime against the person and the planet. Repealing this archaic law is a logical, necessary and urgently required step.'

She said she was looking forward to discussing her cafe with Sussex police; in any case she only had enough cannabis for a week. Profits were to go to aid work in Bangladesh.

Among the customers was Ms Adam's uncle, David Adam, 66, who said decriminalisation was inevitable: 'Alcohol and tobacco are free from prohibition, and they are far more dangerous. So much money and police time is wasted on this.'

The cannabis cafe lasted 57 minutes. Just before midday four decidely unmellow men in jeans and bomber jackets arrived. Ms Ward welcomed the Drug Squad and offered a menu: they arrested her on suspicion of drug offences; she was later released without charge.

The remaining patties disappeared into a bin-liner for analysis, along with the menus - which bore a cannabis leaf inside the laminate. They even took Jason's mum's carrot cake.

Those found guilty by magistrates of trafficking small amounts of cannabis face punishments ranging from a conditional discharge to a maximum fine of pounds 5,000 and six months' imprisonment; A crown court can impose a maximum of 14 years and unlimited fines.

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