(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Police carried out an operation against “kiosk drugs” at hundreds of businesses
over the weekend.
Officers raided 430 convenience stores and kiosks, and
seized thousands of small bags of synthetic cannabinoids marijuana substitutes
and hundreds of pills, mainly various forms of Hagigat, a cheap but highly
effective form of speed sold in capsules.
Police arrested or detained
some 131 minors.
The legal drug kiosks sprouted up and flourished across
Israel, particularly in Tel Aviv, and operated with almost complete immunity for
the past few years.
In May, after Channel 2 aired a segment on the issue,
the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee voted to widen the scope of the
banned substances list to include the fake marijuana and pills such as
Since then, police have waged a campaign to stamp out the
businesses, which have largely disappeared from central Tel Aviv. The industry
has largely gone underground, with users ordering bags of synthetic marijuana
brands such as “Mr. Nice Guy” by cellphone and awaiting delivery, and hagigat
again returning to the underside of the counter, where it had been sold for
nearly a decade.
The synthetic marijuana substitutes hit the market amid
a marijuana shortage four years ago and took off, with no prohibition in the
drug code to halt their open sale. Hagigat was in a similar legal limbo, with
chemists able to change the makeup of the drug anytime authorities tried to ban