An Italian bar owner has been arrested for serving cannabis rather than croissants and cappuccinos to students from a nearby school.
Until now nobody questioned why Salvatore Nocera’s bar and café was so popular among high school students in the Italian city of Acqui Terme, in the northwestern region of Piedmont.
As the bar was conveniently located close to the city’s bus stop and train station, students would stop by, as it turned out, to buy hashish on their way to school, La Stampa reported.
Nocera would have kept his cannabis business a secret if the school’s principal hadn’t noticed a strange smell in the bathrooms and the suspect behavior of some students.
Police were called in and found joints in the school bathrooms and several machines for cutting drugs, which they reportedly traced to Nocera’s bar. Inside the café they found 40 grams of hashish served in carton boxes of 2 grams and 5 grams.
The search then continued in the bar owner’s house Friday. Nocera, who has a criminal record, did not deny he was selling cannabis, but in his defense said it was his way to earn a little extra money to keep his head above water amid the economic crisis. Police found 100 grams of hashish, tools for preparing the drug and 2,600 Euros in cash at Nocera’s home.
He was arrested on charges of possessing drugs for the purpose of trafficking.
Now police will try to find out if Nocera was working alone or from where and whom he was getting supplies.
There’s a little good news for Nocera, however. If he is found guilty, the punishment will not be as harsh as it used to be. Just two weeks ago, Italy's Constitutional Court abolished a controversial anti-drug law from 2006 that put cannabis and hashish on the same level as heroin and cocaine and tripled sentences for selling, cultivating or possessing it to six to 20 years, instead of two to six years previously.