The owner of the Nirvana chain of head shops, Jim Bellamy, has denied plant cultivation kits being sold in his outlets and on his websites are encouraging people to grow cannabis plants.
Mr Bellamy told The Irish Times the equipment his shops sells are sold for “horticultural purposes”.
“We don’t selling anything to people so that they can grow cannabis,” he said.
While his shops were also selling cannabis seeds, he said the seeds were not banned here and were only sold by his outlets as “souvenirs”.
“We have always sold them as souvenirs, it’s something that we’ve done as a tradition really.”
Since the enactment of the Psychoactive Substances Act last year, he had reduced his number of shops from eight to three.
“There were about 100 (head) shops at one time and we were the wholesaler to almost all of them, but most have gone now. It’s not very profitable and we might close down.”
Asked if Nirvana had been more aggressive in selling the plant cultivation kits since the psychoactive products head shops once specialised in were banned, Mr Bellamy said: “I don’t know really, I haven’t been well so I haven’t been around much. It is all we really have left to sell.”
One staff member at one of Mr Bellamy’s shops in Dublin said the grow kits on sale were for growing plants and were not sold for the purposes of growing cannabis.
“We are just like any other gardening shop,” he said.
Nirvana shops and the company’s Nirvanagrow website offers plant cultivation starter kits for between €385 and €895. These kits consisted of a “homebox” and high wattage lights.
The homebox is effectively a small tent-like structure with white lining inside.
The white lining reflects the bright lights inside the structure onto the plants growing inside and helps to maintain a very high level of heat emitted from the lights.
A basic watering system is also included to keep the plants hydrated while growing in such a bright and warm environment.
Nirvanagrow also offers the homeboxes, lighting and other items for sale as individual items.
For advanced growers, Nirvanagrow also offers for sale ventilation systems to remove excess heat and odour from environments where large numbers of plants are growing.
Timers and pumps are also on sale and these are generally used to keep large numbers of plants watered using irrigation systems run automatically to avoid the need to manually water large numbers of plants.
Mylar, reflective tin-foil style sheeting, is also on sale. This can be used to line the walls of rooms in which quantities of hundreds of plants could be grown as opposed to growing a small number in homeboxes.
Hand-held meters, some costing over €200, are also offered for sale to allow growers test for the optimum heat and moisture in the growing environment and to ensure the pH balance is correct in soil where plants are growing.
CONOR LALLY, Crime Correspondent
The Irish Times - Monday, January 17, 2011
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Owner says cannabis seeds 'souvenirs'