ARRESTS AS CANNABIS CAFE OPENS THREE people were arrested for drugs offences at Scotland's first cannabis cafe, police said last night. The arrest of the two men and a woman for possession of cannabis at the Purple Haze Cafe coincided with the reclassification of the drug, from class B to class C, which came into force yesterday. It is understood that Paul Stewart, the owner of the cafe in Leith, Edinburgh, was one of the three. A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: "Three people have been arrested and charged with possession of drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Two people were seen using drugs within the premises." The spokesman said the men, aged 43 and 37, and the 35-year-old woman would be made the subject of a report to the procurator fiscal. He added that officers had been maintaining a presence outside the cafe and had warned customers they could be arrested if seen with any illegal substances. The cannabis cafe launched as a private members' club yesterday afternoon. The initiative means customers will be able to come in off the streets and use the soft drug. Backed by the Scottish Cannabis Coffeeshop Movement (SCCM), the plan aims to highlight what campaigners cite as a confusing legal situation surrounding the possession and use of the drug. Yesterday's high-profile launch was attended by the SSP MSPs Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne, who came to show "solidarity" with those who choose to use cannabis. But police warned that despite the downgrading, the drug remained illegal and the possession of cannabis was still an offence. Speaking yesterday, Mr Stewart, 37, said members would have to bring their own cannabis to the cafe because the drug would not be on sale. He added the cafe would be tobacco free, but anyone wishing to take cannabis would be able to use a vaporiser machine, which eliminates 99 per cent of the drugs carcinogenic substances. Mr Stewart said he wanted to highlight the discrepancy between Scotland and the rest of the UK over how the reclassification was implemented, adding that he would have to warn all his customers that they risked being arrested. "In the rest of the UK the presumption of arrest has been taken away, but that presumption still remains in Scotland," he said. "It is a plain fact that 800,000 people use cannabis in Scotland and we feel that we are being socially excluded from taking part in an activity we believe is socially acceptable. "We are looking for the whole of Scotland to get behind us and we want the Executive to be supporting us on this one." A statement issued by police last night read: "The change in class only impacts on the penalties available to the courts and does not in any way alter police procedures. "Where evidence of an offence exists, offenders will continue to be charged and reported to the procurator fiscal." Last night, an SSP spokesman said police should not be "wasting their time" prosecuting cannabis users. "We have to stop criminalising people for what after all is a victimless crime," he said. The opening of the cafe followed a declaration in the Scottish Parliament by Jack McConnell, that the downgrading of cannabis would have little effect on how police deal with users and dealers. At First Minister's Questions, Mr McConnell attacked the SSP's "shameful" drugs policy, condemning "those who intend to interpret the law for their own ends". He told MSPs: "I want to make clear today that reclassification is not the same as decriminalisation. The use and sale of cannabis both remain illegal in Scotland. "I do not anticipate that cannabis reclassification will have any significant implications for policing in Scotland." This was, he added, "partly because police time and resources in Scotland are already concentrating on those most serious drugs". Annabel Goldie, the Tories' justice spokeswoman, said the government's mixed messages had given a green light to those who think that they are above the law.