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Home > 96. Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to introduce legislation to regulate head shops and the products sold within head shops. [10510/10]

[Oireachtas] 96. Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to introduce legislation to regulate head shops and the products sold within head shops. [10510/10]. (03 Mar 2010)

URL: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2010/03/03/00066...


96. Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to introduce legislation to regulate head shops and the products sold within head shops; the timeframe for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

108. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children the scope of the legislation regarding head shops which she has signalled for June 2010; the steps she has taken or will take to address this matter; if these will include studies on the health implications of the substances sold in such shops; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
 
Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney):  I propose to take Questions Nos. 96 and 108 together.
 
In the light of the health risks associated with some of the products being sold in so-called head shops, the Government has agreed to the introduction of regulations under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 which will introduce controls, similar to those introduced recently in the UK, on a range of substances which are currently on sale in head shops. In accordance with EU law, it will be necessary to notify the Commission of the proposed regulations in case they impact on legitimate industrial activities and this imposes a 3 month stand still period on implementation of the regulations. These regulations will make the possession and sale of these substances illegal and subject to criminal sanctions. Some of the substances in question have legitimate uses — for example, in the production of plastics and industrial solvents. It will be necessary to assess the level of use of these substances by industry in Ireland and the implications for industry of placing these substances under the ambit of Misuse of Drugs legislation.
 
The Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 and its associated regulations control the import, export, production, supply and possession of a range of named narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances listed in the Schedules to the Act. Substances are scheduled under the Act in accordance with Ireland’s obligations under international conventions and/or where there is evidence that the substances are causing significant harm to public health in Ireland. Minister of State John Curran, who has responsibility for co-ordinating the National Drugs Strategy, has identified head shops as an area of concern, and is currently considering the options available to more effectively control the activities of head shops.
 
A Research Advisory Group (RAG) has been established to identify possible options for the regulation of head shops. The RAG held its first meeting on 13 January 2010. It has representatives from the National Advisory Committee on Drugs, the Departments of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Health and Children, the Health Research Board, Revenue Custom’s Service, the Forensic State Laboratory and other relevant stakeholders. The RAG will report incrementally until its work is complete.
 
Vol. 704 No. 1  
Written Answers – National Drugs Strategy
Wednesday, 3 March 2010

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