[imgl=white]http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/images/tile/2010/0204/1224263733549_1.jpg[/imgl]A judge tonight distanced himself from the running of a controversial so-called “head shop” in a building he owns.
District Court Judge John Coughlan said he has demanded the Happy Daze store vacate his premises in Naas, Co Kildare, where he once operated his solicitor’s practice.
While legal to operate, parents and politicians have raised concerns over health risks of products sold in head shops, including stimulants, known as party pills.
Judge Coughlan – who has no financial interest in the business – said it had been drawn to his attention that premises he let to a commercial tenant had been operated as a head shop.
“I had agreed to allow the premises be used as a venue for an alternative medicine centre and had no idea of its current use,” he said in a statement released through the Court Service.
“The moment I realised this I contacted my auctioneer who reached an agreement immediately with the operators of this shop that they will vacate the premises and seek accommodation elsewhere.”
It is believed dozens have opened in towns around the country in the last few months – some open until 4am at weekends and offering delivery service.
Health Minister Mary Harney has promised to introduce legislation to deal with the stores by June and bring Ireland into line with the UK’s stricter anti-drugs laws.
Fine Gael health spokesman, Dr James Reilly, welcomed the Minister’s pledge .
He said the recent bane of head shops has already done untold physiological and psychiatric damage to young adults.
“The products sold in head shops mimic the effects of illegal substances, however, young people feel it is okay to take them because they are legal,” said Dr Reilly.
“Teenagers, as a result of their ’head shop high’ have reported suffering from panic attacks, paranoia, delirium and psychosis.
“The need for the State to protect our youth with legislation is urgent.”
Date published: 03/02/2010 - 18:45:03
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