A Moscow restaurant got popped with a $13,700 (840,115 rubles) fine for placing a cannabis leaf on a beer menu. Yes, the long arm of Reefer Madness extends all the way to Russia.
According to a report in the Moscow Times, the prosecutor’s office punished the restaurant for “a graphic depiction of cannabis leaves, as well as a textual description of the said plant used in the preparation of the sold alcoholic product.” Advertising drugs, including “plants containing narcotics,” is illegal in Russia.
The offending product was Hanfblüte, a hemp-flavored Swiss beer that is distributed and sold (legally) all across Russia. Arkady Pogosov, the head of the company that owns the restaurant, said he felt trapped by contradictory regulations. “We’re hostages of the situation,” he said. The restaurant has a legal obligation “to inform the consumer about the contents of the products sold” on the one hand. But can’t use a well-understood icon to signify the hemp contained in the beer.
According to the Eastern Administrative District of the Prosecutor’s Office of Moscow:
“During the audit, it was revealed that the menu of the restaurant’s bar card, which is an advertising material intended for an indefinite circle of persons, contains a graphic image of hemp leaves, as well as a textual description of the said plant used in the preparation of realizable alcoholic beverages, namely, and flowers of cannabis (a plant of the genus Cannabis), information on which is included in the ‘List of plants containing narcotic or psychotropic substances or their precursors and subject to control in the Russian Federation uu’ and the free circulation of which is prohibited.
“This graphic and textual material contributed to the manifestation of interest and focused on the use of substances banned in the Russian Federation, and its content did not meet the requirements of the legislation on advertising.”