Cannabis Café Could Be Opened In The UK As Green Party Councillor, Ian Driver, Launches Campaign

The battle for Britain's first cannabis cafe has been launched again, after a Green Party councillor announced plans to open a shop in Kent.

Ian Driver, a councillor for Thanet District Council who has admitted to being an ex-recreational drug-user, has said he is looking for possible venues in Margate or Ramsgate for an Amsterdam-style cafe.

Mr Driver has submitted his proposals in anticipation of a law change and in response to what he considers a shift in popular opinion towards legalising the class-B drug.

It follows recent reform victories that are arguably reshaping the landscape of the oldest debate in drug policy.

And as the US state of Colorado announced this week it had collected more than a million pounds in taxes from newly legalised recreational marijuana businesses during the first month of sales – the debate around the regulation of the drug in the UK has been thrown back into the spotlight.

The Institute For Social And Economic Research recently estimated that a regulated market could reduce the government deficit by up to £1.25bn, whilst producing roughly £400m in "net benefit" for the country.

In February, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said that the UK should explore alternatives to a blanket ban on drugs and Britain should be at the heart of the debate.

As a result, Mr Driver has now argued he believes there is demand in Britain for a venue where users would be able to smoke the class-B drug in the same way as in Amsterdam.

But this is not the first time someone has tried to open a cannabis cafe in the UK, with police in Manchester blocking the introduction of a cannabis "social club" in the city's Northern Quarter in January.

And Mr Driver has faced opposition from Kent Police, who refused to even discuss the issue.

He told The Independent that he had been "inundated with messages from local cannabis users who said they will be coming to the meeting."

"The debate about drugs and policing is becoming much more topical," he added.

But Kent Police told the BBC: "Our role is to enforce the law which states that cannabis is a Class B controlled drug."