The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr Dermot Ahern, T.D., today announced that the Government has approved new legislation which will crackdown on the operation and activities of head-shops.

The Government today approved the drafting of the Criminal Law (Psychoactive Substances) Bill 2010. This will provide sanctions against proprietors of head shops engaged in the sale of drug-like products and criminalise the sale and supply of substances sold from them.

Under the new legislation, the sale or supply of substances which may not be specifically proscribed under the Misuse of Drugs Act, but which have psychoactive effects, for human consumption will be a criminal offence. It is also proposed to give appropriate powers to the Gardaí and to the courts to intervene quickly to prevent these outlets from selling these products by way of appropriate prohibition orders.  

Minister Ahern said: "The safety of the community is being put at major risk by the operation of so-called head shops. The operators of these shops are exploiting for large profits the availability of potentially dangerous products by selling them  for human use.  Such activity clearly seeks to undermine the legal framework for the control of drugs in this country.

"I am not prepared to allow this to continue. The Government today approved my proposals to ensure that the criminal law and the Gardaí can deal quickly and effectively with those who sell psychoactive substances for human consumption. I look forward to early publication and enactment of the proposed Bill." 

11 May 2010

Note for Editors: 

The Minster's proposals are intended to operate in conjunction with a number of other avenues which are being pursued, including the regulations introduced today by the Minister for Health and Children to prohibit the sale of mainstream head shop products. The activities of head shops are being closely monitored on an ongoing basis by An Garda Síochána and Revenue’s Customs Service, with a view to ensuring that no substances that are currently illegal are being sold.  

As part of the multi-pronged approach, relevant Government agencies are reviewing existing legislative provisions to establish if head shops are liable for prosecution under a range of legislation. The HSE, in association with partner agencies under the Drugs Strategy, is finalising a national drugs awareness campaign that will focus on the dangers of psychoactive substances available through head shops.  

The National Advisory Committee on Drugs has been asked to carry out some targeted research in this area.