Irish ban on legal highs due in June

By chillinwill · Feb 5, 2010 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    Ban on 'head shop' goods due by June

    REGULATIONS WHICH will outlaw a range of products sold as “legal highs” in “head shops” across the State are to be introduced before June, the Department of Health has said.

    A number of synthetic or herbal substances that mimic the effect of illegal drugs are to be brought under the control of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 because of the “ongoing health risks” associated with them, a spokeswoman for the department confirmed last night.

    It is understood the regulations will apply to products such as Smoke and Snow, which are marketed as “pot pourri” and “stimulating bath salts” respectively but consumed in the same manner as cannabis and cocaine.

    The move to make the substances illegal comes amid mounting criticism towards the Government from the Opposition, parents and anti-drugs groups who have called for a ban on head shops which have become increasingly common across the country.

    Minister for Health Mary Harney said her department was preparing regulations, similar to those in Britain, which would introduce controls on a range of substances on sale in head shops.

    British authorities banned a range of “legal highs” including GBL, which offers euphoric effects like ecstasy, and chemicals used to make herbal smoking products such as Smoke in December.

    “This will make the possession and sale of these substances illegal and subject to criminal sanctions under the Misuse of Drugs Act,” Ms Harney said.

    In 2006, the department introduced regulations which banned psychotropic (magic) mushrooms, while last year it banned BZP, then a legal alternative to ecstasy.

    Ms Harney also said her department was working closely with Minister of State for Drugs John Curran, who was co-ordinating a Government response across various departments to tackle the problems associated with the proliferation of head shops.

    Earlier yesterday, Donegal TD Dr Jim McDaid said he believed introducing an across-the-board ban on head shops and their products would be a “colossal mistake”. Dr McDaid said this would push the substances onto the streets and into the control of drug dealers. “I honestly believe that if we ban these head shops or substances we are on the verge of making one huge colossal mistake with regard to the problem of drugs in this country,” he told Newstalk’s Lunchtime with Eamon Keane.

    Dr McDaid, a former minister who lost the Fianna Fáil party whip in 2008 when he abstained on a vote on the cervical cancer vaccine, said a campaign educating people of the dangers of the products rather than a ban would be the best way forward.

    February 5, 2010
    Irish Times

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  1. Kinetic
    Finally, a TD with a little bit of sense. They can sell alcohol and cigarettes which kill so many people every year and they get their taxes from them. They warn us about the dangers of consuming these products so then it's up to the individual whether they want to use them or not, knowing the possible risks. If they can do this for alcohol and tobacco, why can't they do the same for the rest of the drugs out there?

    It would be in their interest for a few different reasons; they could legalize and then make sure drugs are manufactured more safely with the highest standards available to minimize harm for the users, they could then tax these drugs so they would be making a lot of money which could go towards improving the economy, this could lead to reducing the amount of drug related crime around the world which is one of their biggest problems. When will they start opening their eyes and see that banning substances isn't making the world a better place?
  2. malsat
    I wonder what format this ban will take. Anyone heard anything new on this?
  3. jonny68
    Being Irish and knowing how much incompetent Government are so detached from reality when it comes to this type of thing unfortunately i can see these head shops being all closed down.
  4. malsat
    They won't be forced to close down they just won't have anything left to sell except paraphernalia and useless herbal products.
  5. Nature Boy
    That won't necessarily happen. Getting rid of head shops would actually be quite difficult. What constitutes a head shop? Clever owners should be able to re-label their stores in order to avoid being identified as a head shop. As long as these shops are not selling illegal products, the government have no ability to butt in. I for one would be delighted if the Gardaí were taken up on harassment charges for bullying people who are not breaking laws.

    Not necessarily true either. The government may ban MPVD, mephedrone and JWH-018 but there are literally hundreds of drugs capable of replacing those in time. Going through every single mind-altering compound discovered would involve a massive effort in terms of funding scientific inquiry and we all know how daft these backbenchers are when it comes to science. They'd be too reluctant to make the investment. A strict authoritarian approach to drug control in a social democracy is nearly impossible nowadays. The Swedish are the world leaders when it comes to pursuing this type of policy but I firmly feel the Irish government are incapable of undertaking such a difficult, on-going task considering we're going through a financial crisis.

    Rationally speaking, it would save everyone a lot more resources and time if they regulated and taxed all psychoactive drugs and abort this arrogant notion that governments can control citizens' decisions when it comes to controlling their own minds.
  6. malsat
    What's the status of the british headshops after their recent ban of certain compounds?
  7. Mona Lisa
    Still up as normal. Would imagine that sweeping analogue laws will eventually be passed in both countries though, similar to those in America
  8. Charles Bukowski
    I see alot of people saying this, but (correct me if I'm wrong) the analogue laws in America don't make all derivative chemicals illegal, they make it illegal to sell them for human consumption.

    How is that different to the UK and Ireland at present where research chemicals have to be listed as "not for human consumption" ?

    It would be literally impossible to make all derivative chemicals illegal.
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