2nd October, 2002
A man who opened an Amsterdam-style coffee shop to sell cannabis to seriously ill people has been found guilty of drugs offences.
Colin Davies, 44, was found guilty of three counts of possessing, supplying and importing cannabis as well as letting his shop being used for smoking the drug.
He was arrested last year after smoking a joint during a police raid on the Dutch Experience cafe in Stockport, Greater Manchester.
He had denied all the charges against him and a jury of seven men and five women at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester took five hours to reach their verdicts.
Davies claimed the shop's purpose was to supply cannabis to those who needed the class B drug for medicinal purposes, an idea he had after visiting coffee shops in Holland.
He had initially set up a group called the Medical Marijuana Co-operative through which he sold cannabis to around 200 people across Britain.
He told the court the drug took "the edge of the pain" for his customers who suffered from illnesses such as Multiple Sclerosis, cancer, and Aids.
Davies then decided to open the coffee shop after his orders for cannabis grew and to give his "patients" a safe way to obtain the drug rather than buying it off street dealers.
The court was told that Davies charged about £25 for between seven and 14 grams of cannabis which had an estimated street value of £70.
Police found around 90 grams of the drug during a raid on Davies' home in Stockport, while customs officers in Dover intercepted parcels sent to Davies containing four kilograms of the drug, worth around £18,000.
The court was told that Davies first used cannabis to relieve pain after he damaged his spine when he fell 35ft on to a river bed in Stockport in 1995.
At first he bought the drug from street dealers, but soon began to grow his own cannabis before establishing the Medical Marijuana Co-operative, the court was told.
Davies, who has been in prison since his arrest, was remanded in custody pending pre-sentence reports and the case was adjourned until tomorrow morning when he will appear before the court for another matter.
After the verdict, Davies' father, Colin, 72, said: "I am very disappointed. The lad's done nobody any harm. All he has done is help people and he has still had letters since he has been in prison asking for his help.
"We thought he would be found not guilty of these offences. He is a
healer not a dealer. We have been with him all the way."
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