The crops planted by artists that were mistaken for cannabis by police. Photo: Thierry Boutonnier and Fabriques Architectures Paysages

French Police Destroy Art Installation After Mistaking It for a Cannabis Farm

Officers in France demolished a nearly 40,000-square-foot “agricultural eco-system,” consisting of barley, hemp, and flax planted by artists, after mistaking it for a cannabis farm, Chris Baynes of The Independent reports.

Titled Aire D’attente (Waiting Area), the living work was being harvested for the first edition of the Lyon Architecture Biennial. Police constables spotted the work by artist Thierry Boutonnier and architectural firm Fabriques Architectures Paysages two weeks ago while on patrol in Lyon’s Confluence district and decided to tear up the crops.

According to the biennial’s website, the work was meant to “temporarily reactivate a place that in the future is going to undergo a profound change but which today is dormant.” The project aimed to transform a derelict industrial wasteland into a farm of eco-friendly building materials, helping La Confluence to become one of the first fully sustainable neighborhoods in France. Despite the destruction of the piece, the plot of land still served as the site for the festival’s closing party on Saturday, July 8.