Canna Kitchen in Brighton specialised in infusing its dishes with CBD oil, a cannabis-derived non-intoxicating substance that’s reputed to have multiple health benefits.
Canna Kitchen’s owner, Sam Evolution, told reporters that he had checked with both the police and the Trading Standards Agency before opening his restaurant, and he had been given the official go-ahead last summer.
He told The Guardian that he had emailed both agencies and had been told that: “As long as you have made reasonable inquiries and it has been said that they are legal, then there is no criminal offence.’”
He continued: “We also made a separate inquiry to trading standards, who told us that as far as they could tell, there are no current legal issues posted by the sale of hemp-derived CBD products. It is clear CBD is not a controlled substance. It is freely available from many large high-street chains.”
“It is clear CBD is not a controlled substance. It is freely available from many large high-street chains”
Mr Evolution said that he had also supplied police with samples of the restaurant’s products so that they could be taken away for testing.
Nevertheless, around a dozen officers raided the restaurant on May 11 and locked staff in a room for over 4 hours while the premises were searched.
A Sussex police spokesman said the raid was part of an investigation into “money laundering and the supply of class B drugs”
The said that “a significant quantity” of cannabis was seized during the raid.
Mr Evolution said that he had “always taken very stringent measures to ensure that we comply with the letter of the law” and that all products on sale contained less than 0.2% of THC – the chemical responsible for marijuana’s intoxicating effect.
Mr Evolution said he and his family stood to lose around £250,000 and that 15 staff would be made unemployed day the closure of the restaurant and that the close also endangered deals with investors ready to set up a franchise of the Canna Kitchen brand.
Cannabis legalisation charity Transform described the raid as “heavy handed.”
“This is something that could have been dealt with as a civil licensing issue, rather than a criminal case,” said Transform’s Danny Kuslick.
Canna Kitchen’s telephone and emails were not being answered when Daily Star Online attempted to contact the restaurant today.