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June 11, 2004 - Reuters News

English Soccer Fans May Smoke Pot

By Nick Parker In Portugal

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

ENGLAND fans will be allowed to smoke dope before Sunday's crunch clash with France - to keep them calm.

Cops in Lisbon plan to crack down on drunk supporters while turning a blind eye to those spotted puffing on a spliff.

Pot-smoking fans have been assured they will not be arrested, cautioned -- or even have their drugs confiscated.

Last night experts said the Portuguese police's "Here We Blow" policy would reduce chances of a punch-up between rival fans.

Alan Buffry of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance said: "If people are drinking they lose control, if they smoke cannabis they don't.

"Alcohol makes fans fight. But cannabis smokers will be shaking hands and singing along together."

Dutch police used a similar policy in Euro 2000 and England's hooligan element were too stoned to fight.

A Lisbon police spokeswoman said: "If people cause a problem through drugs and become a menace then police will take action. But when this doesn't happen why should the police be the ones making the fuss?"

More than 600 officers will be on duty for England's opening group game at Lisbon's Stadium of Light.

Fans who seem to be drunk may be breath-tested and refused entry.

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