Head shop operators in Waterford face an uncertain future and by year’s end could be out of business, according to Community Affairs Minister Pat Carey.
The Minister’s declaration comes little over a week after Waterford County Council Planning Director Brian White called upon the State “to get its act together” in tackling the issue.
Meanwhile, City Councillor David Cullinane has also claimed that existing legislation can also address the sales of legal highs to under 18s.
Citing the Childcare Act (1991), Cllr Cullinane said it contained measures which can curb the sale of certain head shop products to minors.
“This particular legislation could be easily and quickly amended to prohibit the sale of all of these drugs to persons under 18,” the Waterford by-election candidate added.
“It is my belief that existing legislation provides Gardaí and the courts with the power to address the sale of dangerous powders to persons under the age of 18,” Cllr Cullinane added.
“The sale of substances to children where there can be a reasonable belief that these may be inhaled to cause intoxication is an offence under the Childcare Act 1991 punishable by fines and/or imprisonment. That Act also gives Gardaí powers of confiscation in public places.”
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Minister Carey admitted that his preference is for “an outright ban on them, on the operation of head shops”.
A list of products currently on sale in head shops are set to be added to an official banned list by mid-July, including ‘substitute substances’ for cocaine, amphetamines and ecstasy.
“By mid-July, that ban will be there and will make it less attractive for (head shop operators) to trade,” the Minister added.
Public concern on the effects of consuming head shop products has been echoed by medical professionals, one of whom believes such products could ultimately kill more Irish people than swine flu.
See The Munster Express newspaper for full story.