"Full control of the drug-trade must be completed in order that the government of all countries who are under our jurisdiction will have a monopoly which we will control through supply. . . .Drug bars will take care of the unruly and the discontent, would be revolutionaries will be turned into harmless addicts with no will of their own." - Royal Institute of International Affairs.
Shop openly sells cannabis for medicinal use.
Supplier claims police turn blind eye to drug dealing.
Special report: drugs in Britain.
By Sarah Hall.
Saturday June 16, 2001
The Guardian UK.
The owner of a health food shop is openly selling cannabis for medicinal use in the heart of London's King's Cross with the apparent approval of local police, the Guardian can reveal.
Tony Taylor, of Tony's Hemp Corner, has around 250 customers, including doctors and lawyers. He claims local police, who arrested him on charges of growing and supplying the plant three years ago, turn a blind eye to his practice as they concentrate on tackling the area's prostitutes and crack cocaine dealers.
The news of Mr Taylor's unorthodox business - and the apparent response of Islington police - comes the day after the Guardian revealed that Scotland Yard has officially endorsed a controversial plan not to caution or arrest people caught carrying or using the Class B drug but to give them on-the-spot warnings instead.
Senior officers, including the Metropolitan commissioner, Sir John Stevens, believe the scheme, to be piloted in Lambeth, south London, from next month, is "sensible and progressive", a view endorsed by the drug policy reform group Transform, who described it as "the beginning of the end for current drugs laws".
But the Met is bracing itself for accusations that it is "going soft".
Mr Taylor, who was given an absolute discharge after his arrest three years ago, yesterday described the attitude of police in London's red-light district to his business as "really cool".
"The council and the police know exactly what's going on and the police think what I'm doing is really good," he said from his office, where he keeps accounts and copies of the GP letters he requires.
"They come around sometimes and say, 'How are you doing, are there any problems?' We've obviously been granted grace because there are so many other problems in King's Cross."
However, Islington police last night denied they knew about Mr Taylor's medicinal cannabis dealing. "We weren't aware that he was prescribing drugs for patients with GPs' letters," said Detective Chief Inspector Robin Hopes. "We'd like to get around a table with him and work out if what he's doing is legal or illegal."
Mr Taylor, who offers cannabis at less than the street price, refuses
to supply it for recreational use and clients have to fill in a form,
undergo a 20-minute interview and provide him with a GP's letter.