Friday, December 09, 2005

brixton 'cannabis clamp-down': it is a government 'S Bend', not a 'U Turn'

" On the 12th Day of December, the good lord said to me - you're busted'

THIRTY to forty 'skunk' street dealers in Brixton could be made redundant for Christmas, or forced to travel miles to be able to work, some as far as 'front lines' outside the 'Hilton Hotel' in Mayfair, on the Kings Road in Chelsea, or in Pimlico, Golders Green, Hampstead, or even Hendon.

This is all thanks to 'Operation No Deal' which is due to start in the Brixton area on 12th December.

In 'Operation No Deal', Brixton police have issued a public warning that for a three month 'trial' period, they are going to arrest anyone found in possession of cannabis on the streets of Brixton, however small the quantity. They have been seen handing out leaflets outside Brixton Tube Station with the warning, yards from the dealers themselves, who did not complain, despite the threat to their trade.

Brixton Police say the aim is to stop the trade by unlicenced cannabis street dealers, who annoyingly whistle, or say 'skunk' to passers by.

Above: Checkpoint Cannabis, Brixton. (photo: will rogers)

Part of the police 'not-at-all-softly' strategy is to target 'skunk tourists' who come to Brixton to buy the herb, but local restaurants catering for the spin off 'munchie' trade could also be hit.

Above: Cops, Cash, Cannabis = Chaos; booty from the 'Green Leaf Cafe' bust which closed down a popular but discreet, off the street, cannabis supply service near Brixton in 2004. The owner, Errol Anderson, is now serving six and a half years, his wife, Audriana Witter, got two and a half years. The raid came shortly after the popular Brixton police chief Inspector Paddick was removed from his post. City analysists say the bust gave up to a 66.6% boost to the local street market, which was also boosted by a publicity campaign in the 'Evening Standard' and the 'Daily Mail.'

The whole problem is caused by the governments stubborn refusal to give licences to any form of enterprise involving the sale of cannabis, despite a massive ongoing 'civil disobedience campaign' by over three million uk cannabis users who want a 'New Deal for Cannabis', not a 'No Deal', or a 'Bad Deal' which is mostly what they get.

The police say their 'No Deal' is for foreign 'skunk tourists' and is responding to nationalistic local demands to end the unlicensed, 'in your face' cannabis street trade which mainly caters to 'outsiders'.

Above: Stop & Search Brixton. During the 'experiment' more people were stoped than ever before. (photo: will rogers)

Flying in the face of the governments 'Right To Work' policy, the police say they will be making as many of the dealers 'unemployed' as possible, in what they mysteriously call an 'intelligence led' clamp down, involving a massive 'publicity sweep operation' through the British media.

Critics complain that Government 'restart' employment grants to help the redundant street traders start up cannabis coffee shops, or 'private' licenced premises, will not be given. They say this will only cause the street dealing problem to continue and/or go elsewhere, rather than stop.

Local cannabis users fear it will not only be 'foreigners' or 'outsiders' trying to score who could end up being arrested for possession this Christmas; it could be them!

Above: A border patrol checks for 'illegals' at Brixton 'front-line'; tourism will be hit. (photo: will rogers)

A 'Brixton Citizens ID Card' could be next if the 'Pass Port to Pimlico' mood in the area continues.

However, the police anti-dealer operation has wide spread support in the local community, where there were huge anti-police riots in the 1980's, similar to those recently in France.

Above: "You're busted" Brixton; young, black & weed toking. Green arrow marks possible bag of 'organic' missed by police. (photo: will rogers)

The '80s Brixton/UK riots were mainly due to the stop and search 'suss law', that allowed police to harrass anyone they did not like the look of, which at the time was almost everyone in Briton, especially young, black and weed toking.

There seems little chance of similar riots now in Brixton, although the new 'No Deal' strategy certainly improves the odds.

Even the trendy leftie Brixton based 'Urban' forum, famously frequented by the 'Anarchist Police Man' Inspector Paddick, who brought in the 'Brixton Experiment' which pioneered the 'confiscate-don't-arrest' 'Class C' for cannabis policy, is full of praise for the police:
"I doubt you'd find many people in Brixton who aren't mightily fed up with all the open drug-dealing. If it were put to a referrendum, I expect you'd get a huge majority saying they want it stopped. Having people hanging about mumbling "skunkskunkskunk" (or not even mumbling it sometimes - almost shouting in fact) makes a horrible atmosphere".

".... and the whistling, don't forget that.. gets right on my wick that does, been very close to saying I AM NOT A SHEEPDOG! several times".

"... aye, and the bloke who bellows about the bible, and geezer with the staff who rants about the white man, and the old chap with the ghetto blaster and the lady with the comb and the various groups of christians and the lefty paper sellers and him with the joss sticks and the tube touts and the white rasta with the flyers and the grubby junkies and the counterfeit DVD sellers and them ones with the knockoff fags and the women with the clattering high heels and the blokes that walk too slowly and as for the kids on push-bikes on the pavement, don't get me started. Sweep them all away, they make the place too untidy".
Above: Cannabis Festival, Brockwell Park Brixton, June 16th 2001.

It was problems with 'in your face' dealers offering weed and 'Class A' drugs to Lambeth Council officials at the 2004 Cannabis Festival, held in Brockwell Park, Brixton, that led to it not being given a licence by Lambeth Council in 2005, after five trouble free years. A 'Cannabis Education March' march to Trafalgar Square, central London, was organised instead.

But, as someone also said on
"Repression will not diminish demand. Where there is demand there will be supply. The only way to long term get rid of the street dealers is to license and regulate legal outlets - cafes, chemists, whatever".
In fact, Brixton residents can look forward to the same 'No Deal' from the police as 'successfully' carried out in Camden, another London 'skunk pot spot', where the weed dealers have taken to stealing each others stashes, and having pitched battles on residential side streets, having been largely moved off 'the bridge' on Camden High Street.

Residents who have been 'shooting' the dealers with high powered water pistols have been warned they could be arrested by the police for assault.

Recently 'News of the Weed' heard of a case in Camden where two men caught muttering 'gear' to strangers on the street in Camden, were released with no charge by the police after the small plastic bags they had filled with 'herb' were found to contain a non-tobacco herbal mix, but no cannabis.

Once again there is no justice, and 'No Deal' for the hapless cannabis consumer - if the men had been selling fake DVD's they would have been charged for selling forgeries, but because it was 'only' fake cannabis they were released. The law obviously does not care about cannabis enjoying citizens being robbed by thieves.

We have also heard that a man has been given an 'ASBO' for talking to known weed dealers in Camden, which seems a bit excessive; he could have been saying "No thanks, I grow my own."

Meanwhile the majority of cannabis users in Britain will continue to purchase their herb of choice as usual - not from a street trader, but from a friend, relative or work collegue, connected to the massive underground 'cannabis railroad' distribution network. They will be providing the 'Next Deal'.

• Final Deal: A 'skunk' street trader was shot recently in Brixton - apparently because he was part of a group of ethical cannabis traders who refused to sell 'crack'.


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