High time ‘head shops’ were closed

By chillinwill · Jun 29, 2009 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    Police and health officials swoop on Camden Town’s stores that sell ‘drugs paraphernalia’

    A MAJOR operation by police and drugs enforcement agencies swooped on Camden Town’s famous “head shops” yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon.

    In a high-profile – and highly politicised – operation, police officers and inspectors from the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) raided 20 shops in Camden High Street searching for illegal or unlicensed drugs including club scene favourites such as “Funk Pills”, “London Underground” and “BZP” – or Benzylpiperazine.

    For decades the shops have sold waterpipes, large cigarette papers, and a range of hemp-branded goods that police consider “drugs paraphernalia” as well as so-called “legal highs” – substances on the margins of the law, like magic mushrooms.

    Sgt Neil Payn said: “The drug market is fuelled by the large number of head shops in Camden. These sell paraphernalia including pipes, seeds, growing equipment, legal highs and magic mushrooms. [The raid] is entirely proportionate to the problem we’re dealing with – it’s a large-scale problem in Camden, to prevent the issues of drugs.”

    At least 30 retailers cash in on Camden’s reputation and the shops have long been a source of irritation and embarrassment to the police and the council, which has pledged to break what it calls the high street’s “aggressive cannabis market”.

    The medical authorities have come under pressure from government to crack down on drugs produced to simulate banned narcotics.

    Nimo Ahmed, Head of Intelligence at MHRA, said: “It’s a misconception that because these types of drugs are not Class A, like cocaine or heroin, they must be legal. These drugs have not been assessed in any scientific way and could be detrimental to the health of a user.”

    But with just one arrest and a handful of products seized – none obviously illegal – traders were complaining last night of a “mob-handed” raid, driven by a police desire to please Home Office masters during National Tackling Drugs Week.

    “You would think they would write us a letter telling us that they think some of our products are illegal, like they would any other shopkeeper,” said one, who asked not to be named. “We are not drug dealers.”

    By Paul Keilthy
    June 11, 2009
    Camden New Journal

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  1. nibble
    They always seem to get those big public scare words cocaine and heroin into these articles. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a total crackdown on drug paraphernalia like that in the US which would lead to the demise of the headshop entirely. More freedoms being eroded by the day, it seems.
  2. sgurrman
    I've posted elsewhere ('Government to ban legal highs' thread) about a programme shown by BBC showing the Great British public what a threat to our health and general well-being these legal highs are (that's me trying to be ironic, by the way...). Strangely, it was screened IMMEDIATELY AFTER the Camden raids. This could, of course, be pure coincidence, but if so, it is indeed quite a big coincidence. Or is it reasonable to smell a conspiratorial rat? What do you think????

    :mad:Though the media like to have a go at politicians and make them look stupid (not a difficult task), on a deeper level they go hand in arm with our lawmakers in terms of mercilessly supporting a general worldview, that which was once commonly referred to as the Establishment. In terms of drug policy, the media has as much to answer for as the politicians.
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