When medpot patient Colin Davies emerged from England’s Strangeways Prison in May after serving six months for opening the country’s first official marijuana shop, he felt like Rip Van Winkle waking from a long slumber.
While Colin was locked away, enduring agony, starvation and frustration, Dutchman Nol Van Schaik and other Dutch potpeople, British medpot patients and advocates, members of the European Parliament, cannagoddess Maruska De Blauuw, and many other courageous folks were working hard to keep Colin’s potshop dream alive.
The Dutch Experience, founded by Davies and Van Schaik during that horrible week last September when the world changed forever, is still open, despite the “best” efforts of police in Stockport and Manchester, England.
Van Schaik, De Blauuw, politicians, and at least four dozen other people have voluntarily gotten themselves arrested during the protests concerning Colin’s arrest and imprisonment.
De Blauuw reports visiting the local police station with her pot-toking friends, lighting joints, and giving the constables a taste of smoky green medicine. Most of those arrested have demanded jury trials.
Davies says he had tears in his eyes when he was released in May, pending trial on cannabis distribution charges, and was finally able to see and hear first hand about the local, national and international efforts that kept The Dutch Experience open.
He was amazed and pleased to see reports that British Home Secretary David Blunkett and Parliament are almost certain to reclassify cannabis to make it a non-arrestable “Class C” offense by mid-July. He smiled when he heard that other patients and advocates, empowered by The Dutch Experience, were creating a cannabis revolution throughout the British Isles, with “legalization” experiments successfully proposed or taking place in London, Scotland and elsewhere.
And yet, somebody forgot to tell the Manchester police and prosecutors that England has terrorists and real criminals to worry about.
They must have been watching Colin when he “violated” his release conditions by being in his own home in Stockport. The release conditions were handed down by the judge who released Colin in May, fearing that Colin would go right back to selling herb and hashish at The Dutch Experience. The judge had imposed home exile on Colin as a condition of release.
But Colin’s spinal injury medical condition caused him to visit a hospital on June 30, seeking a dose of opiate pain killers. The dose left him shaky, and he was unable to do any more than collapse in his own home.
Police rousted him the next morning, and also arrested Dutchman Big Bart, formerly a contender for the Dutch National Soccer Team, for possession of marijuana.
Colin was remanded into custody for breaking his bail conditions, but a judge later ruled that he could leave jail, provided he complied with the conditions of his May release.
Prosecutors grinned malevolently as Colin left the courtroom, and then had him re-arrested. Some of his supporters protested, and two of them were arrested when nearly two dozen riot police descended on them like bullies always do.
Now Colin Davies is sleeping in a harsh cell in the Stockport Police Station, wondering if he will spend his entire summer in prison awaiting a trial that was supposed to happen in June but is now scheduled for September.
“It makes you wonder who is in charge of marijuana policy in England,” commented Van Schaik, who was once dragged out of his UK hotel room in the middle of the night by KGB-imitating police agents who feared that his sticky Dutch bud might be some potent new form of superweed. “I mean, the world is on high alert about terrorists, and there are plenty of other problems that need the government’s attention in England, and the government is set to loosen its cannabis policies, but the Stockport police, the prosecutors, and the judges are spending their time harassing a disabled man who has done absolutely nothing wrong. If they were more interested in helping people than in hurting them, they’d give Colin an award and let him help the government design cannabis outlets across the country and throughout Europe.”