New laws in Ireland aim to put head shops out of business

Controversial new laws in Ireland are aimed at putting smart- and headshops out of business. The Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Bill 2010 will make the sale and supply of psychoactive substances which mimic illegal drugs a criminal offence. The Bill also prohibits import or export psychoactive substances for human consumption. The offence includes knowing, or being reckless as to whether the drug was for human consumption, even if the packaging says otherwise. It includes sale over the internet or home delivery within the jurisdiction, and also includes the advertising of a psychoactive substance.

A statement from the Alternative Traders Association said that prohibitions against advertising products was a serious threat to the freedom of speech and claimed that the initiative could contradict existing laws on the free movement of goods within the EU as well as human rights laws.

The Bill will also deal with the sale of drug paraphernalia (e.g. bongs) and so- called “grow your own” equipment in head shops. Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern is considering including an offence of selling a pipe or any other object made or adapted for use in connection with the consumption of the controlled drug or psychoactive substance.

Technically, wine glasses, spoons, lighters and ashtrays would also fall under this new law. Garden centres and supermarkets would be selling illegal products as well; should they now be closed down?