A bedminster shop is selling a cannabis and alcohol cocktail which has been condemned by drinks industry watchdogs.

Cannabis Vodka, a mix of the spirit and hemp seeds, can be bought across the counter at Budget Booze in East Street, at £15.99 for a half-litre bottle.

It is advertised with a written notice describing it as “the ultimate buzz”.

Made in the Czech Republic, it is only sold at a few outlets nationwide.

But although experts agree that drinkers probably cannot get high, there has been criticism that the drug is being used to sell alcohol.

The Portman Group, the self governing body of the drinks trade, has attacked the product.

It says that Cannabis Vodka, produced by L’Or Special Drinks, is in breach of the drinks industry’s Code of Practice because the name of the product and the prominent use of a cannabis-style leaf on the front label was a direct allusion to an illicit drug.

Portman Group director Jean Coussins said: “L’Or Special Drinks, which produces Cannabis Vodka, has not responded to our complaint. Retailers are now being asked not to stock this product with immediate effect and I am confident that it will disappear from the market.” Graham Fanti, chief executive of Bristol-based Advice and Counselling on Alcohol and Drugs (ACAD), said: “I’m surprised there is an off-licence in Bristol selling such a product if it fails to confirm to certain industry guidelines.” When the Evening Post spoke to the manager of Budget Booze, who identified himself only as ‘Mr Mann,’ he said he was doing nothing wrong.

He said: “As long as I can get it from the cash and carry, I don’t think there’s anything wrong.” He added that he thought most people would buy the drink out of “intrigue” and said it “didn’t do much”.

Another man from Budget Booze then called the Evening Post about the Cannabis Vodka.

He also identified himself as ‘Mr Mann’ and said that although the product was on sale, he hadn’t sold any bottles.

But by then, an Evening Post reporter had bought a bottle of the vodka and has a receipt to prove it.

When challenged, the second ‘Mr Mann’ said he must have been out of the shop at that time.

He said that the product was “perfectly legal”.

He said: “It is not my problem if other people don’t approve of it.” A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We have had an enquiry relating to a different product called Original Hemp Vodka, which I believe is a similar drink.

“If the drink contains cannabis, it is illegal and a matter for the police.

“However, if it contains cannabis seeds, they are not illegal as they are not controlled by the Misuse of Drugs act.

“Cannabis seeds don’t contain an intoxicating substance and are used for a number of legitimate purposes.” It would not be possible to grow cannabis plants from the seeds as they are hemp seeds.

Hemp is of the same plant species as cannabis but is very low in THC, which is the psychoactive chemical in cannabis.

Bristol Evening Post
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