A Grangemouth shopkeeper who was caught selling cannabis cookies has been allowed to keep his licence.
Falkirk Council’s licensing board heard that Awais Ahmad Chaudhry – owner of Barrie Foodstore in Hawthorn Street – had been convicted after police officers found four jars labelled “premium cannabis cookies” on a routine visit.
Sergeant Derek Simpson told the board on Monday that the cookies were “on open display being offered for sale” when they visited on March 13, 2020.
He said the officers first noticed what looked like “drug paraphernalia” on the shelves behind the shop counter, including grinders, vapour papers and scales.
After finding the cookies, the board heard that they had been tested in the police station by the officers and “they did test positive for cannabis”.
They later returned with a warrant to search the whole premises but other items that were discovered – including cannabis lollipops that were labelled “contains real cannabis” – did not in fact contain any traces of the drug.
The board heard that Mr Chaudhry had told the officers it was okay for him to sell the cookies as they had “very weak cannabis”.
His solicitor, Dick Sandeman, told members that Mr Chaudhry had bought the cookies in a large, well-known cash and carry in Glasgow – and he questioned why that business has not yet been visited by Police Scotland.
He added that the items, such as the grinder which the police spotted first, were actually for tobacco, which the shop sells.
Mr Chaudhry appealed against his conviction but was unsuccessful.
He was fined at Falkirk Sheriff Court for “possession of controlled drugs with intent to supply”.
The conviction led to Police Scotland asking the licencing board to hold a review of both Mr Chaudhry’s personal licence and the shop’s premises licence, which he holds jointly with his wife through a partnership.
Mr Sandeman told members that revoking either licence would not be appropriate for the scale of the offence.
He said: “His conduct other than this one issue has been exemplary.
“The loss of their licence would be absolutely devastating for this family.”
The board’s convener, councillor Robert Bissett, said that a written warning should be given to the premises licence holders.
SNP councillor David Balfor felt suspending the licence for three months would be appropriate but his colleagues supported cllr Bissett’s suggestion.
Mr Chaudhry’s personal licence was endorsed.
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