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A head shop is a retail outlet specializing in drug paraphernalia used for consumption of cannabis, other recreational drugs, legal highs, legal party powders and New Age herbs, as well as counterculture art, magazines, music, clothing, and home decor; some head shops also sell oddities, such as antique walking sticks. The largest Headshop chain in the UK is Red Eye with stores in Devon, Oxford, Bristol and Brighton.
Products purchaseable in these outlets typically include pipes; pipe screens; bongs (often called water pipes in countries with drug paraphernalia laws); roach clips; vaporizers; rolling papers; rolling machines; scales or balances; blacklight-responsive posters; incense; cigarette lighters; legal drugs such as whipped-cream chargers (which contain nitrous oxide) and Salvia divinorum (illegal in some countries and US states); and products such as the Whizzinator claiming to give false negative results for drug urinalysis tests.
American head shops originated in the 1960s in cities with high concentrations of college-age youth, often growing out of independently owned poster or candle stores. Historically, US head shops proliferated on St. Mark's Place in New York City's East Village, in West Los Angeles, in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, and in Chicago's Old Town. Sources cite the Psychedelic Shop on Haight Street in San Francisco as the first head shop in the United States. Operated by United States Army veteran Ron Thelin and his younger brother Jay, it opened on January 3, 1966. Four months later Jeff Glick opened "Head Shop" on East Ninth Street in New York City. Also in 1966, The Birmingham Balloon Company opened at 113 Fry Street Denton, Tx.
The oldest surviving head shop in Britain is Head In The Clouds, which was opened in Norwich in April 1971 by Martin Wyatt and strives to continue its original layout and "love and peace" ethos.
Head shops served as an important outlet for underground newspapers and the underground comix of Robert Crumb and other counterculture cartoonists, which had little access to the established channels of newsstand distribution. The shops' popularity eventually waned with the aging of that era's baby boomer generation, and with the retail mainstream discovering and co-opting aspects of that market niche, such as acid rock and eco-friendly products.
Head shops exist and are legal in Ireland, and were reported by authorities to be opening at a rate of one per week in January 2010. The legality of the shops was discussed in the Irish Senate and a motion was passed requesting the Government to regulate the sale of products. Some politicians were in favour of outlawing the shops while others argued this would be a "huge mistake" which would allow illegal street dealers to thrive.
During early 2010, many incidents of firebombing and arson against head shops took place around the country. Some attacks were traced to disgruntled drug dealers. One petrol bomb attack occurred in the home county of the then Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, and hours later, plans for legislation for regulation of head shops got underway.
Many head shop products became illegal in Ireland on 23 August 2010 when the new Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act 2010 became law. The Act empowered Gardaí (Irish police) to seek court orders to close head shops suspected of selling drug-like products, with the onus on the owners to prove they are not doing so.
United States 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2010)|
In the United States, head shops sell items which can be used for both legal and illegal substances. The sale of certain drug paraphernalia is considered illegal in some states. Head shops often argue that their products are not illegal drug paraphernalia because they are intended for use with herbal highs, tobacco, and other legal substances.
In many head shops, a sign will be posted (and often reiterated verbally) stating that customer references regarding the use of the shop's products for illegal drug use will result in suspension of all sales for that time period, and/or removal of the customer from the shop. Head shops often[weasel words] place signs stating that the products sold are "for tobacco use only" or "not for use with illegal substances".
Smart shops 
Smart shops are shops, prominently found in the Netherlands, which sell psychoactive substances in addition to the drug paraphernalia found in head shops. There are some shops from the Netherlands that operate as both a smartshop and a headshop on an International level. Customers are expected to accept the responsibility to inform themselves about the local laws, import and custom regulations before ordering and to certify that the import to their country of the products ordered is legal.
See also 
- Alternative culture
- Cannabis smoking
- Grow shops
- One hitter (smoking)
- Underground comix
- Underground film
- Underground music
- Underground press
- Christopher, Rob; Neil Montgomery (2009). "A Cannabis Chronology". UKCIA.org. The United Kingdom Cannabis Internet Activists www.offyourheadshop.com. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
- Juanis, J.C. (2004). "Allen Cohen 1940-2004". SFHeart.com. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
- Henderson, Jennifer. "Beloved activist in Valley dies". Point Reyes Light. Tomales Bay Publishing Company. Retrieved 29 January 2010.[dead link]
- Smith, Howard. "Scenes". Village Voice, June 23, 1966.
- "Dramatic increase in 'head shops'". RTÉ. 2010-01-26.
- "'Head shops' booming as row rages over legal highs". Sunday Independent. By Aislinn hughes. Sunday February 07 2010.
- "€500,000 cash found in Dublin 'head shop' after fire". Irishtimes.com. 2010-02-02. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- Sligo head shop & adult store damaged in fire, RTÉ News, 11 March 2010
- 'Head shops' target of pipe bomb attack Irish Independent 2010-03-11.
- Garda superintendent slams "reckless" pipe bomb act Westmeath Independent, 2010-03-18.
- Fire breaks out at head shop in Dundalk, Irish Times 16 April 2010
- S.I. No. 401/2010 — Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act 2010 (Commencement) Order 2010. Irish Statute Book. 2010-08-17.
- Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act 2010 Irish Statute Book.
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