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Wednesday, February 21, 2007 

Scum-watch: Much ado about smoking.

DEBENHAMS IN DRUG SHAME, shrieks the Sun in what is in fact an utterly shameless piece. In a complete non-story, some berk goes to Prague, sees Debenhams are selling hash-pipes and bongs, phones the Sun, and wham, all sense goes out the window.

MAJOR UK department store Debenhams is today exposed by The Sun selling drug paraphernalia in one of their overseas branches.

Hundreds of bongs, pipes, bud cases and water pipes are for sale at their store in Prague alongside clothing and shoes.

Paul Rushden, from Nottingham, was shocked when he spotted the items whilst on holiday in the Czech capital last week.

He said: "I couldn't believe it when I walked past a major British high street retailer and saw bongs and pipes blatantly for sale in their front window.

"I didn't expect Debenhams to be endorsing drug taking.

Err, they're not. What people get up to with what they buy from a department store is their business, much like how sex shops which sell handcuffs and fetish wear aren't endorsing whatever their customers do with the stuff. There's a store in town that sells every skin you could ever want and has a load of bongs on the top shelf and no one bats an eyelid. Why should it make any difference if a store like Debenhams is selling it?

"One wonders how the shareholders of this public company would feel about profiting from the drug trade."

The store is located in the busy King Wenceslas Square in the centre of Prague.

A spokeswoman for Debenhams thanked The Sun for bringing the matter to their attention and promised action.

She said: "This Debenhams store is managed by our Franchise Partner in Prague.

"This matter is clearly not acceptable and we have instructed our Partner to remove the items immediately and make clear to the vendor that any repetition will not be tolerated."

No mention then of what the drug laws actually are in the Czech Republic, which might explain why Debenhams would be selling them in the first place.


The Czech Republic's lower house last week approved a penal code revision that will decriminalize simple marijuana possession and allow for growing for personal use. The measure is likely to pass the Senate and be approved by President Vaclav Klaus, reports Czech activist and journalist Bushka Bryndova.

The proposed new law draws a distinction between soft drugs (cannabis and psychedelic mushrooms) and hard drugs. While penalties for hard drugs remain practically unchanged, possession of small amounts of marijuana or a limited (the number is yet to be set) number of plants will no longer merit prosecution.

Which sounds to me like the kind of law which ought to be campaigned for here. Congratulations to the Sun on such a brilliant exclusive!

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