‘Hysteria’ blamed for closure of head shop
One of the Republic’s few remaining head shops has blamed “mass public hysteria” by “persistent negative media coverage” for its imminent closure.
Staff at the Hemporium in Kilkenny said they “don’t speak to the media” but a sign at the shop yesterday announced a “closing sale”, inviting the public to “pop in over the next few days to see what is on offer or simply to say goodbye”.
The shop, on a busy pedestrianised street, has been selling pipes, bongs, “legal highs”, seeds and growing equipment.
A company statement regretted the closure of “a thriving Irish company”. It added: “Hopefully in time with more public awareness it will be understood the value of what Kilkenny Hemporium brought to this city.”
Kilkenny’s only other head shop closed recently after the Government introduced emergency rules outlawing the sale of so-called “legal highs”.
The Mayor of Kilkenny, Fine Gael councillor Martin Brett, was “delighted” to hear about the shop’s closure.
The Hemporium caused controversy this year when it launched “a 30 per cent discount promotion” for Mother’s Day gifts and ran a green-themed marketing campaign for St Patrick’s Day.
The shop was continuing to advertise its website which was still functioning yesterday. It was offering an “express postal service” for deliveries in “discreet packaging” to customers in “southern Ireland”.
In May, Minister for Health Mary Harney banned the sale of some 200 “legal high” substances, such as mephedrone, and over half of the estimated 102 head shops trading in the State closed down.
The Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Bill 2010, makes it “an offence to sell, import or export unregulated psycho-active substances” for humans and is expected to result in the closure of all remaining head shops.
Source: Michael Parsons, The Irish Times, 15/07/2010