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NORML president plans Cannabis Cafe in New Zealand

NORML president passes Dutch coffeeshop training course, plans to open Cannabis Cafe in New Zealand

Press Release -- Sunday 2 June 2002 National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, New Zealand.

NORML president passes Dutch coffeeshop training course, plans to open Cannabis Cafe in New Zealand.

HAARLEM, NETHERLANDS - New Zealand NORML’s president, Chris Fowlie, has this week legally sold marijuana, been on Irish Television and passed the Coffeeshop College training course held in the Netherlands with the highest score yet.

The week-long Coffeeshop College course aims to teach budding canna-business people everything they need to know to run a cannabis cafe. It is run by Nol van Schaik, co-founder of the UK’s first cannabis café; Maruska de Bleuw, curator of the Global Hemp Museum; and Wernard Bruning who started Amsterdam's first coffeeshop, the Mellow Yellow. The course includes intensive training on inspecting and evaluating top-quality hash and marijuana, safety and hygiene standards, cannabis harm reduction, the history and features of the Dutch coffeeshop policy, a field trip to some coffeeshops, and work experience in an actual cannabis café.

As part of the Coffeeshop College course Mr Fowlie legally weighed and sold about 50 deals of marijuana and hash over the counter of coffeeshop Willie Wortel's Sativa, as he was interviewed by Irish Television and the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Chris earlier this year won a charge of possession of 0.7 grams of cannabis. The ruling set a new precedent that should prevent police searching people based on their opinion that someone smells of cannabis. As part of that case, Mr Fowlie was allegedly defamed by the Dominion newspaper. Their subsequent "donation" enabled Mr Fowlie to enroll in the Coffeeshop College course and travel the world researching alternative drug policies on behalf of Green MP Nandor Tanczos.

Mr Fowlie has so far investigated the medical marijuana clubs in San Francisco, the cannabis-friendly cafes in Vancouver, the police practice of not arresting cannabis users in the London borough of Lambeth, the UK's cannabis-friendly cafes in Brixton and Bornemouth, and coffeeshops in the Netherlands.

"After seeing all the different approaches, there is no doubt in my mind that coffeeshops provide the best model for the controlled availability of cannabis in a way that most limits availability to youth and separates cannabis buyers from hard drug sellers. Dutch cannabis use rates are barely one third that in New Zealand. The Dutch police, government and healthcare workers are all happy with the coffeeshops," said Mr Fowlie.

"The New Zealand health committee’s inquiry into cannabis is still deliberating and due to report by July. When I return to New Zealand in September I intend to apply to the Government for a license to open a coffeeshop, which would provide the best quality cannabis to adults in a safe, controlled environment. If they heed the scholarly research and the large majority of submissions presented to the inquiry they should support having cannabis cafes. If not, I am sure it will happen anyway because it is the right think to do and the people want it," said Mr Fowlie.

For more information:

Chris Fowlie can be emailed at chris@hempstore.co.nz or messages can be left at The Hempstore: 64 (0)9 3025255 Nol van Schaik can be contacted via the Global Hemp Museum: 0031 23 5349939 www.wwwshop.nl - click on link for Coffeeshop College information www.dutchexperience.org - the UK’s first coffeeshop www.norml.org.nz - homepage for Norml NZ

-- ends --

National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, New Zealand. PO Box 3307 Shortland St. Auckland Aotearoa New Zealand. Tel: (09) 302 5255 Fax: (09) 303 1309 E-mail: norml@apc.org.nz Internet: www.norml.org.nz

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