SOME 29 head shops that previously sold a range of legal highs that were banned last Sunday remain open this weekend selling various drugs paraphernalia including pipes and bongs but are expected to close down soon.
Detectives from the Garda National Drugs Unit (GNDU) last weekend visited the country's head shops, which then numbered 48, warning them that as of midnight last Sunday it became illegal to sell a range of products.
Of the 48 stores, 39 were then selling a range of legal highs. All of the head shops have complied with the new laws, which has made it a criminal offence to sell all psychotropic substances, and all have been removed from the stores.
The 29 stores that remain open are spread around the country.
Gardaí will visit these stores in uniform as well as in covert operations over the coming months, posing as customers enquiring if it is still possible to buy the now illegal substances. If a shop is caught selling these products, it faces prosecution and its owner a jail term of up to five years.
Businessman Jim Bellamy, who owned the Nirvana chain of head shops, had closed down all of his premises this weekend. He ran the popular Nirvana store on Dublin's South William Street as well as the Nirvana shop on Capel Street. The shop on Capel Street was burnt to the ground by drug dealers in February.
At the beginning of the month, Bellamy's house in Killiney was firebombed by criminals.