A highly-regarded business supplier of CBD products in the west of Ireland suffered a police raid on Friday last that ownership has described as ‘devastating.’ Members of An Garda Siochana entered the Little Collins CBD Cafe premises, confiscating products and leaving the shop’s proprietors in a position where they’ve been forced to reboot their entire operation.
The Extract had just the previous week visited Little Collins Cafe, interviewing owner JP O’Brien, amid a thriving business, with a strong cross-section of the community purchasing and browsing the variety of CBD products within.
Click to view a recent video profile of Little Collins CBD Dispensary, Galway.
Mr O’Brien, who co-owns the store with his wife Ide Clancy, was understandably upset, when he explained his week the nature of the incident, which didn’t fit with the community-oriented nature of the cafe, as was obvious in terms of the clientele and atmosphere Extract witnessed enjoying the shop the previous Friday.
“Due to this ‘grey area' in Ireland, they came into our shop, customers were asked to leave and all of our flowers (buds) have been confiscated,” Mr O’Brien told The Extract. “They went through everything in our home as well and took the hemp tea we store there. We're talking significant amounts of stock/euro on both fronts.”
“They broke down the back door to get into the home. Like you see in the movies,” said Mr. O’Brien. “Thankfully, my wife Ide and our two-year old boy weren’t there.”
“The last few days have been devastating for myself, my wife and our 2-year-old boy. As a family it is NOT GOOD to have police forcefully break into your home, when we weren't there at the time, not to mention our business.”
What is especially frustrating to JP O’Brien is that the company was in full compliance with the laws associated with selling CBD in EU and to the general public in Ireland, yet this did not appear to be taken into account. The robust approach of the police is, to his mind, out of kilter with the gentle and law-abiding character of the business.
“We have all of our buds double-tested in Ireland to go with the Certificate of Authenticity from the supplier to confirm they're less than 0.2% THC. We have been transparent and above board from the beginning. Our situation now seriously highlights how totally dysfunctional the CBD landscape/laws are right now. “
Mr O’Brien is hopeful that the raid is a temporary setback but is bemused by the contradictory nature of the police raid. The flourishing business right in the heart of Galway city sells a selection of coffees, teas, and even skincare products and was the subject of a recent business profile by The Extract.
The aggressive nature of the police action doesn’t square with the community vibe of a lively shop, visited on the day by teenagers, grandparent types, even wheelchair-accessible for some patrons.
The couple recently returned from Australia, opened the store at the turn of the year and had been pleasantly surprised by its growing popularity in a city known for its openness to wellness and alternative culture. Some of the same smiling and happy customers The Extract met last week were undoubtedly present in the store a week later and forced to leave while the CBD flowers in stock were confiscated.
The incident will have raised alarm among other CBD business owners throughout Ireland and further afield, as legislators continue to obfuscate the rules, leading to the kind of scene witnessed in the west of Ireland capital. O’Brien was unequivocal in his belief that legal experts need to clarify the law and protect legitimate business owners from overzealous police attention. “Everything in our lives is up in the air as a result of this aggressive action,” he said. “They're ruining lives and this whole thing needs to be sorted out.” Things have taken a turn for the better for Little Collins as they have just opened a second cafe in Kilkenny.
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