A CANNABIS campaigner was yesterday charged with drug possession with intent to supply following a police raid on his shop in North Wales.
Officers with dogs searched the four-storey premises in Rhyl minutes before it was due to open on Saturday.
North Wales Police had pledged to “closely monitor” the It Beggars Belief shop set up by businessman Jeff Ditchfield.
Mr Ditchfield, 43, of Henllan, near Denbigh, had said he would help provide cannabis for pain relief.
Apart from drugs paraphernalia, Mr Ditchfield also planned to sell some drugs which can be legally sold such as Salvia, a hallucinogenic from Mexico and Magic Mushrooms. He also planned to offer cannabis seeds and growing equipment.
He has shelved plans for an Amsterdam-style café due to a lack of planning permission.
North Wales Police said last week they were aware of Mr Ditchfield’s intention to open the shop.
A spokesman said: “The importation of controlled drugs, drugs supply and permitting the use of premises for smoking cannabis are all illegal activities. North Wales Police is firmly committed to upholding the law in respect of drug crime and will do so.
“Officers have spoken to Mr Ditchfield and outlined that the opening of the shop is not illegal however he needs to carefully consider the impact of his venture on the community as it will increase the fear of crime.”
During Saturday’s police raid multiple sclerosis sufferers arrived to support Mr Ditchfield and his venture.
One claimed cannabis was “medicine taken to relieve pain”. He asked: “What’s the harm in that?”
North Wales Police Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom has previously backed calls for further investigations into the possibility of legalising drugs.
Earlier this year charges against Mr Ditchfield of possessing cannabis and possession with intent to supply were dismissed at Manchester Crown Court.
He had admitted giving cannabis chocolate to some-one with multiple sclerosis.
Mr Ditchfield was not available for comment last night.
Police said a 43-year-old man was due to appear before magistrates in Prestatyn later this week.
He was released on bail while further inquiries take place.
Three other men, from outside North Wales, have been reported for alleged possession of cannabis.