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  1. torachi
    14950.jpg 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



  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Loophole allows head shops to sell cannabis 'grow kits'

    A NUMBER of so-called head shops have begun selling equipment that can be used to cultivate cannabis plants – and thanks to a loophole in recently introduced legislation they cannot be prosecuted for the practice.

    Some head shop outlets have rebranded themselves as “grow shops” and are selling the specialised lighting, insulation, extractor fan and irrigation systems needed to grow crops of plants. They are also selling cannabis seeds. The seeds are not banned here because they do not contain THC, the main component in cannabis.

    “It’s only when they start to grow that THC emerges and they actually become cannabis,” said one source.

    The kits on sale can be used to intensively grow a range of plants. They are being marketed in shops, not as cannabis-growing equipment but as kits for growing conventional, and legal, plants.

    The sale of cultivation equipment that can be used to grow cannabis plants is banned under the Psychoactive Substances Act, which was introduced last year to close head shops.

    Section 4 of the Act states: “A person who sells any object knowing that it will be used to cultivate by hydroponic means any (cannabis) plant . . . shall be guilty of an offence.” However, Garda sources said it would very difficult, if not impossible, to prove that a salesperson in a shop knew that the equipment they were selling was to be used to cultivate cannabis, rather than grow other, legal, plants.

    There is no evidence to suggest that any of the shops selling the kits have done so knowing they were to be used to grow cannabis.

    Other Garda sources point out that the inclusion of the term “hydroponic” in Section 4 of the Act is very problematic.

    The hydroponic growth method relates to the cultivation of cannabis plants in water, rather than in soil. However, the water-based cultivation of cannabis plants is virtually unheard of in Ireland.

    There is no reference in the Act to the banning of the sale of equipment used to grow cannabis plants in soil, which is the main growth method used by people who have been caught growing cannabis here.

    Said one Garda source: “It looks like even if we were able to prove a person sold equipment knowing it was going to be used to grow cannabis, once the cannabis plants were grown in soil rather than water, the person who sold the equipment would not have broken the law.”

    However, anyone found growing the cannabis with the equipment could be prosecuted.

    While some head shops have been rebranded as “grow shops”, most such premises have closed since the introduction of the Act. It banned the sale of substances sold by head shops that mimicked the effects of cocaine and other drugs.

    CONOR LALLY, Crime Correspondent
    The Irish Times - Monday, January 17, 2011

  2. Terrapinzflyer
    Gardai “monitoring” alleged sales of cannabis-growing equipment in ‘head shops’

    THE DEPARTMENT OF Justice has said that it will be up to the courts to decide if so-called head shops are illegally selling equipment for the growing of cannabis. A spokesperson told TheJournal.ie that gardai were also monitoring the situation and added: "The operation of the Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act 2010 is being kept under review. If problems arise with its operation, the Minister will bring forward such amendments as may be necessary"

    The Psychoactive Substances Act of 2010 led to the closure of many head shops as it restricted the consumption, cultivation and advertisement of many substances and products that had previously been sold in these shops.

    However, Conor Lally highlighted in today’s Irish Times that some head shops are selling equipment that could be used to grow cannabis plants. The article maintains that they can legally sell grow kits because the substance banned by the Psychoactive Substances Act is THC, which is only produced when the cannabis plant actually grows. As a result, the shops can sell the unsprouted seeds, lamps, irrigation equipment and other items to enable customers to propagate plants at home.

    While selling equipment that can be used to grow cannabis is illegal, this equipment is being advertised as for sale to sell normal, legal, houseplants. The owner of Nirvana head shops in Ireland said that cannabis seeds were only being sold in his shops as “souvenirs”, and that growing equipment being sold in his shops was not intended to be used for the purpose of growing cannabis plants.

    When asked by TheJournal.ie if it was investigating this alleged loophole in its 2010 legislation, the Department of Justice said:

    Whether an offence has been committed in any particular case will be a matter for the courts to determine. The Garda Siochana are monitoring the situation and will investigate any alleged offences.

    However, the department said that it believed that the Psychoactive Substances Act 2010 is “an innovative response to the sale of unregulated psychoactive substances for human consumption”.


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