Irish head shops sell drugs despite new ban on legal highs
Despite Monday's ban on Irish Head shops selling Ecstasy and Cocaine substitutes, some head shops continue to sell the products to customers.
The "legal highs" such as mephedrone, MDPV, methylone and gbl were made strictly illegal at midnight last Monday.
Possession of the illegal highs carries a jail sentence of up to seven years.
The head shop highs were proving more popular than illegal drugs themselves, and the ban has driven drug users back to street dealers. Subsequently, the police have asked all head shops to hand over all the banned substances they have in storage.
IrishCentral has learned that some head shops continue to defy the ban.
As late as last night, one Head Shop in the North East of Ireland was discretely selling the remainder of its mephedrone supply to its customers.
According to legislation passed by Minister for Health Mary Harney, the possession of these substances for sale or supply can carry a life sentence.
"These substances are dangerous and their sale and promotion have caused huge anxiety to families and communities throughout the country," said Harney.
"Their possession and supply are now illegal and subject to criminal sanction.
"This means that the reckless, irresponsible people who have sold and promoted them must safely dispose of every product containing even one of the substances immediately. Otherwise they could face criminal prosecution.
"They cannot sell, supply, possess or distribute this stock, with effect from the start of today [Tuesday]."
The Head Shop phenomenon has seen tens of thousand of Irish people legitimately enter a store and purchase a drug that is just as powerful and purer than cocaine or ecstasy.
Although many believe that the head shops should be banned outright, an overwhelming demand for drugs still exists.
Many of the substances sold in head shops are safer than illegal drugs, and the quality of the drug is strictly controlled and administered.
The Irish state earned a lot of tax from the sale of the "legal highs" and many people now fear that recreational drug users, such as teachers, construction workers, medical professionals and financial administrators will now be forced to seek their highs from street dealing criminals.
By Donal Thornton, IrishCentral.com Staff Writer, May 13, 2010