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Clarke Snubs Cannabis Group - Again

Norwich Evening News, 25th February 2006

Pro-cannabis campaigners have criticised Home Secretary Charles Clarke for refusing to respond to their invitation to attend their conference - again.

The Legalise Cannabis Alliance which has its head office in Norwich, wrote to the Norwich South MP in January to invite him to its conference at the University of East Anglia, but has not yet received a response.

Last year, Mr Clarke did not reply to their invitation either.

The alliances seventh annual national conference will take place in the UEA's Congregation Hall on Saturday, March 18 from 11 AM - 5 PM.

It's national coordinator Alun Buffry said: "I wrote to Mr Clarke in January. I haven't even had a hint of a reply.

"We want him to explain to the people of Norwich whether he thinks it necessary to punish people who use cannabis and do no harm.

"I don't think he can answer the question and that is why he has not replied."

Mr Clarke, who in 1997 revealed he had smoked cannabis, was unavailable for comment, but a Home Office spokesman said: "We have received the letter and it is still with Mr Clarke for consideration at the moment."

Former MI5 agent David Shayler, an alliance member, will speak at the conference. He was convicted in 2002 under the Official Secrets Act for passing classified information to the press.

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