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The Hempire News - December 02

It's taken one year, endless meetings and god knows how many revisions but finally the business plan is printed. This has been such an involved process simply because the idea has changed shape so often. In December last year it seemed as though proper cannabis cafes were just around the corner. Now even the merest hint of an openly tolerant attitude brings the wrath of the press (shortly followed by the arm of the law). Over these past twelve months our idea has been reshaped, reformed and revisited, to the point where we feel it's now very solid indeed. It is very different to, but not unrecognisable from, the idea we started with. It is what's possible and what's necessary. And it does open out into something much grander.

Without talking in riddles what this means is that we cannot - yet - open a cannabis cafe. Instead we are going to create an environment where cannabis smokers can meet.

Pretty much every other place caters to the needs of drinkers. But as we all know, smokers often don't like being where drinkers hang out. Pubs are too noisy, too crowded and frequently contain way too many drunk people.

What's missing is somewhere that understands and caters for smokers. As mentioned in previous newsletters, we cannot knowingly permit the consumption of cannabis on our premises. What we can knowingly do is create somewhere that contains the music, the food the atmosphere and primarily the other people you get along with. Nowhere else does this because everywhere else is only interested in what drinkers want.

So this will be a comfortable, light and airy space. Somewhere you immediately feel welcomed and at home. Somewhere very warm and safe. Somewhere with people you know you'll get along with. It's not a cannabis cafe in the style of Amsterdam, but it's a step along the way. And the more we can make this step successful, the easier it will be to make the next one work too.

We'll be elaborating on what this means over the next few months. If you've got any questions about it please visit our forums.

A bit of good news came in the form of an A1 licence for our premises. This means we can serve coffees, smoothies, juices and some food. Ultimately we want A3 (which is what you need for a restaurant-type affair) but this and the alcohol licence can wait. A bit. So now not only can we provide a roof, AND chairs but we can even bring you a nice cup of tea too.

The next stage is to fly to Thailand to design the interior in more detail. Unfortunately our Dutch architect has decided to take himself off around the world and the only place we could meet before April was on a beach in paradise. But please don't feel too sorry for us - we make this sacrifice for you willingly.