Salvatore Nocera's bar and cafe was extremely popular with the local high school kids in the Italian city of Acqui Terme, and the reason became abundantly clear this week when the proprietor was arrested for serving the students hashish instead of coffee.
According to The Local, the bar's popularity escaped suspicion for some time. The bar was conveniently located right near bus and train stations, and many students liked to stop off for a nice cup of coffee on their way to school. But a high school administrator recently became suspicious about why the students were unable to stay alert during the day, especially with all the coffee they were allegedly drinking, and traced the problem right to Nocera's cafe.
The teacher reportedly notified police when he noticed a “strange smell” coming from the school bathrooms, and investigators found joints littered around the area. The drugs eventually brought police to Nocera’s bar, where they set up surveillance and eventually figured out that the students were not stopping by for an espresso every morning after all. Instead, the kids were coming by the bar on the way to school to pick up doses of marijuana to prepare themselves for class.
Once police had proof of the pot-dealing, Nocera was arrested. Italy’s Constitutional Court only just this month overturned an anti-drug law from 2006 that subjected people convicted of selling and possessing marijuana to the same six- to 20-year sentences levied against people caught selling heroin and cocaine. People convicted of selling marijuana now face a much shorter two- to six-year sentence instead.