Legal sources said that investigators in Paris raided two coffee shops last week in the light of an “ultralight” cannabis craze. Law enforcement officers held four people for questioning.
French police also extended the holding time of the coffee shop employees for investigation purposes.
One of the two coffee shops that were raided had queues extending outside the store in recent weeks. Their popularity rose after they claimed to be legally selling cannabis buds, oils, and other cannabis-infused merchandise.
Currently, shops in France are permitted to sell cannabis products as long it doesn’t exceed the French limit of 0.2 percent of THC, the compound found in cannabis that creates the feeling of high to its users.
Those two coffee shops are only a few among several dozens that sell cannabis items that have sprung up across the country just recently.
Investigators of the scene said that they found small traces of THC in the products sold in those coffee shops that are above the maximum allowed dosage.
Soon after the arrest, France’s anti-drug task force reiterated in a public notice that cannabis leaves and buds remain illegal in the country whether they have THC or not.
It is still not clear whether those stores can reopen.
According to one of the workers in those shops, most of these “coffee places” only took advantage of the gray area in the law which has not classified the CBD status of items made from hemp.
Some of the products sold in the stores are toothpaste, cakes, creams, teas, and coffees that are cannabis infused.
Last month, French prosecutors opened an official probe to “verify whether the legal conditions of sale of certain forms of cannabis are being respected” because they were unhappy with businesses taking advantage of the loophole.
Agnés Buzyn, France’s Health Minister even sided with the prosecutors in the issue. She added that the cafes had taken advantage of the debatable parts of the law.
Buzyn said she even wanted to ban cannabis-infused products from the shops on Tuesday last week.
One of the coffee shops that was closed by the French law enforcement force was called Cofyshop. They were located in the 11th arrondissement and were selling cannabis products for €11.50 to €13 per gram.
Cannabis-infused teas and massage oils were also available in their shop and it has been well known that the 29-year-old owner, Joaquim Lousquy had to hire more employees to deal with the increased number of customers.
As a matter of fact, Cofyshop which just opened on the 5th of June had to close several times after running out of items to sell according to Lousquy.
Furthermore, the owner believed that “coffee shops” like the one he owns and the products they are selling are entirely within the law.
Although cannabis is somewhat prohibited in the county, the French government has announced their plans in softening the penalties for the consumption of the substance.
They said that they will scrap the potential charges and jail time for on-the-spot fines but the government remains firm in their opposition against completely legalizing cannabis.
According to a new poll published by the Institut français d’opinion publique for Echo Citoyen, a citizens’ political group and Terra Nova, a think tank, 51 percent of the residents of France favor the legalization of cannabis.
On the other hand, 40 percent are still against the full legalization, and 9 percent did not give their opinion on the topic.