Clear-headed on evil shops
THE Government is about to put the noxious, so-called head shops out of business. And rightly so. Justice Minister Dermot Ahern says that stern laws will be in place within three weeks, giving gardai and customs officers the power to stop the sale, distribution and importation of non-medicinal and unregulated substances with psychoactive effects.
Under proposed new legislation, a person convicted of selling such drugs could face five years in jail. This is firm, decisive action, and those who have worked hard to bring it about, including the minister, are to be congratulated.
Even apart from the danger posed to sad individuals by the untested substances they sell, the very presence of head shops in our cities is a depressing development. Their only purpose is to make money out of weak and gullible people. The unconvincing argument has been made that banning the substances will drive them underground and onto the black market, but some of the drugs and chemicals in question are even more dangerous than the 'hard' drugs whose properties they mimic.