Police raid 430 ‘kiosk drug’ outlets throughout country

National Police Headquarters carry out raids at 430 convenient stores, booths seizing thousands of sacks of drugs.

Legal Drugs370 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Legal Drugs370
(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 Hagigat.
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 it.