Up until a few days ago there were five or six "head shops" close to my apartment but they are now all gone since last Tuesday.
Much to everyone's surprise the Irish government approved tough new legislation to prevent the sale of “legal highs” by the so called ‘head shops’.
As the operators faced the possibility of life imprisonment for the the sale or supply of substances that do not specifically fall under existing drugs legislation, but which have “psychoactive effects” they all decided that it was a good time to retire.
Head shops had begun to receive lots of attention in the media in recent times, with one famous report being that of a doctor describing on Prime Time of how he had encountered patients who suffered hallucinations, anxiety and psychosis after experiencing "legal highs" from head shop substances.
There was controversy and irony when a judge renowned for his strict anti-drug sentencing discovered that a premises he had rented to a business in Naas contained a head shop and ordered the head shop operator to get out.
A Dublin head shop exploded and caught fire early morning on 12 February 2010, engulfing a neighbouring building in fire and the surrounding streets and quays in smoke and causing the whole of Capel Street to be shut down for the day. The blaze brought to ground two other businesses with the head shop, including a sex shop, as one of Dublin's busiest streets was evacuated.
A second head shop burned down on 16 February 2010 in Dublin, though nobody was injured.
Another one burned down on 11 March 2010 in Sligo, and an adult shop went on fire also.
On the morning of March 11 2010 there were two pipe bombs found outside two separate head shops in the town of Athlone, bomb disposal experts closed two main streets in the town.
On the morning of April 16, 2010 in Dundalk, Co. Louth a head shop was set alight in a petrol bomb attack. The county is home to Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern and hours later plans for legislation for regulation of head shops got underway.