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Head Shop Bill unworkable – Ó Snodaigh

18 June, 2010 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh has described the Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Bill published today as unworkable and far short of what is needed.

The Dublin South Central TD, who has been staging regular pickets outside headshops in his own constituency, said today:

“The Bill is unworkable. It fails to put in place the infrastructure that is needed to tackle the emergence of new dangerous drugs in an ongoing way.

“The Bill conatins a vague definition of a psycoactive substance. So-called legal highs are being invented at a rate of one per fortnight, with this Bill the government are proposing to assign to Gardaí the role of identifying each of them. In reality this job requires expertise and input from science, the medical profession, pharmaceutical industry, addiction treatment services, the community and Gardaí. Assigning this task to Gardaí alone is simply unfeasible.

“Without a new Authority bringing together the necessary knowledge and experience, like that proposed by my own Bill which I published in April, the Gardaí won't have a hope in hell of using this legislation to effectively tackle head shop drugs.

“The new Authority proposed by my own Bill is needed to guide and assist Gardaí, Customs and the Courts to identify the psychoactive substances in question, the forms they take, what they look like, how they are used and their street names etc.

“In addition the civil law provisions contained in the Justice Minister's Bill are ultimately an admission by government that the criminal offences contained are unworkable and wide open to challenge.

“By Minister Ahern's own admission on radio this morning the sections providing for civil prohibition orders will be the crux of the state's response. The suggestion that the emergence of a society-wide new drugs crisis can be responded to by allowing individual Gardaí seek an order from a district court to prohibit a specific individual from selling a specific substance beggars belief.” ENDS

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