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Shop Leaves Arcade After 'Legal High' Controversy

Wednesday July 30 2014

Dan Jarvis MP Dan Jarvis MP

A SHOP at the centre of a row about 'legal highs' in Barnsley is moving out of the Arcade on Friday.

Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis said he welcomed the news that the Smokey Sam’s shop is leaving.

Dan said: “This shop has been a blight on the Arcade and a blight on our town. I am in regular contact with business owners there and we have frequently seen people fitting, vomiting and collapsing in the vicinity of this shop.

"We are all convinced that it was because of the sale of these substances. It attracted drug users, encouraged anti-social behaviour, put off potential customers and left local businesspeople scared to leave their shops.“

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Reply Posted by andyh on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 10:12
mandela gardens has been blighted for years by people drinking and taking drugs, this shop made no difference!

Reply Posted by me! on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 10:16
Not quite sure why anyone would wanna take legal highs anyway. Why not do something more productive with their time. Like work. College. Learn. Help little old people. Cretins

Reply Posted by me! on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 10:17
Also just because the drugs are legal. Dont mean they are safe... putting their own life at risk. And not thinking of anyone else such as family

Reply Posted by me on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 10:25
I think its wrong to move his shop i think they should jus move legal highs n let him sell rest of his stock,u can get legal highs anyway,in garages now,they dont move drinkers on do they

Reply Posted by Tommy on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 10:31
People take legal highs all the time it is called alcohol !!!

I love the way Jarvis calls Barnsley "our town" surely his town is Nottingham. He is only here because Milliband wanted him in the party and where safer to get a Labour MP elected than in Barnsley. Roll on Scottish independence, no more Labour governments ever again :-)

Reply Posted by 242 on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 10:37
I work on the Arcade and can't say that I have noticed a difference in behaviour since the shop opened. Even when the shop has gone the people that hang out in Madela gardens will still go there, they will just get their supplies from somewhere else. Its a shame that local independent bussineses are forced to move. Its just going to mean more empty shops on The Arcade. Its such a lovely place but the amount of empty shops puts people off coming down which is a shame for most of the traders who have opened up unique places to try and offer the town something different.

Reply Posted by Sarah on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 10:53
@Tommy. perhaps he calls it "our town" as he has a sense of ownership and pride in it (which is way more than some of our own Barnsley residents do) and he has also proven himself to be popular enough to be elected for a second term. What have you done for 'your' Barnsley community?

Reply Posted by sue on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 13:57
I get the feeling that most folk are so disillusioned with politics, not many care. When I read whats happening with the spending and thieving from the public purse,I flick through the paper now. It just seems as if westminster is so corrupt and out of control and we are all resigned to the fact that theres not one iota we can do about it. Its a fashion show amongst the women mp,s and dont even get me started on the men. I have less and less interest in it all each time there is a fresh scandal. Just live each day the best you can,dont hurt anyone or touch anyones belongings, do a little favour where you can and sleep well at night. It works for me. Contentment with my lot.

Reply Posted by Tom on Friday August 1 2014 at 19:17
He got elected in the 2011 by-election. He has not stood in any election since then. He has been elected just once.

Reply Posted by what do i know ?? on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 10:58
You will never stop these people taking legal highs you have to just try and keep it under control if at all possible .
The reason the shops are not getting occupied is because the business rates are so high . When will the council learn that a bit of something is better than a lot of nothing !

Reply Posted by ron on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 13:19
The council have nothing to do with the rates on the Arcade (and a few other places in town), its privately owned

Reply Posted by ?? on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 13:32
So Ron,does the owner pay the rates? If so the cost will be included within rent,so that will be high then. Im surprised the owner dosnt try to make the arcade work for him and get some interest in the place. It seems to be left to its and the shop keepers own devises. If it were mine I would try to get it into the public eye with differant themes. It is abit lack lustre and souless.

Reply Posted by collet on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 16:04
Instead of our MP being pleased some one is moving to sell his legle highs somewhere else they should be made illegle MPs are there to make the proper rules,to protect us law abiding people,unless there is money involved such as selling our capital city to Forigners,soon this country will belong to Russia China India (not forgetting Packistan) and the Arab nations,and anybody who can't see it coming must be blind,Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.?

Reply Posted by Me on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 16:28
Another empty shop well done, give the man a medal, you can get this stuff any were
But hay you know best!
O and he has another shop in Sheffield that he's had for years not a problem there is it!

Reply Posted by Mystery on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 18:54
Good riddance? Its only moving onto Sheffield Road. Its still in Barnsley

Reply Posted by sue on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 16:52
Im gald its closed. You have to look with a point of view that if your kids bought one of the legal highs from this shop and was ill or worse you would be devasted, if you then found out that the council knew all about them being sold thier and not taken action what would you do? Go crazy with the council. Dammed if they do dammed if they dont. We all know they need banning,but as Dan Jarvis cant just ban them from Barnsley,he has done the best he can under the restrictions I suppose. I hope he closes the rest,dont you? For the sake of the kids especially.

Reply Posted by tt on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 16:54
Ron, you still have to pay business rates to the council even if the property's privately owned

Reply Posted by ???? on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 17:04
Personally i have never seen people fitting or vomiting on the arcade, and although i may not agree with 'legal highs' at the moment they are legal, so mr jarvis while enjoying your 60k+ with expenses on top and employing family, why noy earn it and get them criminalized

Reply Posted by tut on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 17:11
I think ???? his actions by getting this place closed, says he is showing he is with the criminalisation brigade dont you? He has taken action and not turned a blind eye,hes probobly done as much as the law allows ,but by doing so we all know where his values are. I say well done to him, he has started the fight to get these drugs out of Barnsley.

Reply Posted by ???? on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 18:26
So tut he got one shop shut, surely at a local level this should have been the council, he should be looking nationally. Although more needs doing to clean barnsley up not just shutting a shop. Although it as provided him wirh a sound bite and photo opp, the only time you see mp's or councillors

Reply Posted by Mystery on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 18:56
Dan Jarvis hasn't got the shop closed. Its just moving to Sheffield Road. Arcades shop owners problem solved residents of Sheffield Road area new problem. Its still in Barnsley

Reply Posted by tut on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 19:15
I didn't know that@mystery. If its true, yes its not brilliant and not much to be jubilant about Mr.Jarvis.

Reply Posted by gary on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 19:06
Close all the pub in the town, see more people falling over and vomiting

Reply Posted by ???? on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 19:47
Egg on face mr jarvis just moved

Reply Posted by True red on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 19:55
You can't stop people taking legal highs or smoking,drinking, you can only warn them of the dangers if you ban one legal high a new one comes in to play straight away. But shops should have a duty be it moral not to sell these to our young ones, I don't know what the answer is but I only know an answer must be found before another son or daughter is found overdosed or dead

Reply Posted by the punisher on Wednesday July 30 2014 at 21:30

Reply Posted by hmm on Friday August 1 2014 at 08:40
So instead of selling legal high why don't they just legalise the real stuff if it has the same effect why not justdo the real drug what point in making a drug that has them same effect as cocaine why not just have cocaine the real stuff is just a lot stronger so you need to be a bit more wiser but even the legal stuff people are dying off it cos it that addictive ridiculous

Reply Posted by Sara on Friday August 1 2014 at 13:18
I work in The Arcade and since last year when Smokey Sam's opened it has been hell for us! Our customers have been scared to came up The Arcade as from 8am onwards, 7 days a week we have seen people buying and taking legal highs and then going into Mandela Gardens and having fits or vomiting. Sometimes they don't even make it to Mandela and collapse in The Arcade.I have had to called the police and ambulances numerous times. I don't have a problem if people want to get "high" with drink or drugs BUT I do have a problem if it affects busnesses and shoppers. So a big "thank you" to Dan Jarvis, The Barnsley Chronicle and Dearne FM for helping bring back some quality of life to shop owners and shoppers in The Arcade.

Reply Posted by toni on Friday August 1 2014 at 15:34
We didn't need that shop in our area give bad influence to teenagers and children wouldn't want mine round it

Reply Posted by hmm on Friday August 1 2014 at 17:26
Thanks Dan Jarvis lol he's only moved it up the road not like it's banished from Barnsley

Reply Posted by Tom on Friday August 1 2014 at 20:01
As a person who walks along Sheffield Rd into town, I am glad it is coming to Sheffield Rd, Sheffield Rd seems to be on the up, with new shops opening, and not all of them takeaways for once, we now have a more diverse offering of shops. You can already buy legal highs from Pentangle, so the competition will surely be good for consumers.

Not too fussed about the legal highs. But I am aware the shops sells paraphernalia etc.and with a large amount of people in Barnsley using illegal and legal drugs for pleasure, it will surely do well.

Never bothered to visit the place when it was on the Arcade, as the Arcade is so run down and not part of my usual walk through the town, although I was half tempted to pop down the arcade after the previous article slating the shop in the Chronicle.

With regards to ASB problems I doubt they will change much. We have them already, with people on low incomes living in poor quality housing without any security of tenure, leading to one of the most transient communities in town. People seldom stay long here, people are moving in and out of this part of town all the time. The biggest problem here seems to be the amount of out of town, private sector landlords sucking money out of the local economy and not putting anything back in.

If it wasn't for housing benefit you'd have to be on drugs to pay £400 a month rent for a 2 up 2 down over 100 years old. And if your working poor or non working poor relying on housing benefit in this part of Barnsley, life is hardly a joy anyhow so it's not hard to see why people turn to drugs to cope with their lot.

Whilst I'd rather young people didn't do legal highs, or illegal drugs, they will, so perhaps it is best if they stuck to the much safer and cheaper, tried and tested for 1000s of years, but illegal drugs out there. Instead of taking these expensive legal highs, whilst basically being volunteer guinea pigs and paying for the privilege. What is there for them to do?

They can't go to the pub due to age, if they could, they probably couldn't afford to anyway, the average age in the Vic must be above 60 and would be higher still were it not for the bartender being youngish and bringing the average age down.

When it comes to people taking drugs (be they illegal, legal highs or alcohol), we need to look at things in a much more sensible way, we need to legalise or decriminalise and have some regulation so it is safer than it is now. We need to ensure taxation isn't too high so that it leads to acquisitive crime (outright illegality whilst not a tax also forces up prices). When drugs are cheap and safe, and use is treated as a health problem, then people use them less. The war on drugs is a failure, it is far worse than prohibition in America ever was.

We kind of have alcohol prohibition via taxation and that is a failure too. Going to the pub is an expense ordeal, a night in on illegal drugs is actually a cheaper alternative, high alcohol costs do drive people to use other drugs. People who are determined to drink, still drink, but they buy black market spirits, which can sometimes be of poor quality (although the grey markets means that these goods can easily find their way into supermarket supply chains too).

Every society on the planet to ever have existed has had some form of drug or religion ingrained into it's culture, be it beer, cannabis, coca, peyote, opium, idol worship, abrahamic faiths etc.

Drug use is here to stay, and whilst it might have to compete with temperance bars in the not too distant future, it doesn't right now.

Let's hope a temperance bar is the next shop to open on Sheff Rd, making it a much more diverse place to shop, and giving young people an alternative to alcohol, illegal drugs and legal highs.

Let's hope we can have a town where out young people can get decent jobs, for life, and access housing with secure tenure - i.e. become owner occupying freehold tenants, or social housing tenants.

The lot of the young in this town is very poor indeed. They are faced with poor job prospects, with poor wages and little job security if they do find work, and then some of the poorest quality and most expensive private rented sector housing in Europe, I for one do not envy them. And if they take drugs to cope, so be it. I sincerely hope it does provide them with a bit of enjoyment or pleasure, or at least numbs the pain to make their lives bearable.

Reply Posted by sue on Friday August 1 2014 at 20:29
Yes Tom, the lot of the young in Barnsley is poor, so let's fill the place with drugs and stuff eh? Then see how low they are when one day the need arises for them to come off the stuff. Lower thier prospects to get a decent job due to addiction, and god forbid when they become parents eh? Yes,let's just give in,get them full of drugs, that's the answer to all our problems you fool!

Reply Posted by Tom on Friday August 1 2014 at 20:52
The place is already full of drugs. Let's reduce harm caused by those drugs in the short term and long term, regulate supply and reduce prices, reducing crime in both the short and long term. And have a market that is run more efficiently, more transparently and more importantly, in a way that is socially responsible.

I don't actually encourage people to use drugs in my post, I try to explain why they do, and how it could be safer. Look to countries that have decriminalised drug use and tret it as a health problem. They aren't fighting a war on drugs, but they are achieving great things. They are reducing harm, saving lives, improving health and even reducing drug use.

the war on drugs is a failure. Criminalising users has resulted in widespread social problems and drug use has exploded. We now have to deal with the consequences. Let's at least try and do something sensible, instead of carrying on with the same old stupid policies and criminalisation that got us into this mess in the first place.

Reply Posted by sue on Friday August 1 2014 at 21:50
Can't accept your view I'm afraid Tom. Drugs destroy lives,the user,their parents and children. No way would I accept it from either of my sons,not in my presence. Relaxing the drug laws is just trying to make drugs acceptable within society,and while druggies are shouting,swearing,vomiting,unable to speak properly, unable to look after themselves and any poor children they may have, then thinking about all of that, they are obviously not and should never be socially acceptable.

Reply Posted by Tom on Saturday August 2 2014 at 21:53
Drugs don't always destroy lives, it is true they they can, but it is not a given.

I agree that it is not acceptable for people to shout, swear, vomit, slur, be unable to maintain personal hygiene, raise children etc. But many people cannot do this for a whole host of reasons.

Problematic drug use leading to any of the above, including drinking alcohol, and other vices such as problematic gambling all need to be tackled by our society. Making things illegal though, doesn't remove the problems, it merely pushes them underground and makes them harder to tackle.

Reply Posted by sue on Saturday August 2 2014 at 22:01
@tom, in reply to your second paragraph, why would you want to add on to the many people who are already anti social?
Keep the unsociable rubbish off our streets,let them go underground, most people don't want to see it.
I honestly can't understand your point of view. Are you a teenager? Not being sarcy,its just that your point if view,to me at least sounds juvenile. Apologies if your adult.

Reply Posted by Tom on Sunday August 3 2014 at 04:16
I'm pointing out that many people are anti social, and that there are many factors that make them so. I'm saying these factors need to be addressed if we are to tackle ASB.
If we push legal highs underground, the people selling them won't have an age policy. You might not see them being sold from shops, but they will inevitably be sold on the street etc. and quite possibly to children.
I'm not a teenager, far from it. It seems to me trying to call my age is an ad hominem attack which adds nothing to debate.

Reply Posted by the punisher on Saturday August 2 2014 at 09:16
drugs are for mugs and your a mug tom.

Reply Posted by shaz on Saturday August 2 2014 at 18:48
Put it on your door step and see what its like Tom.

Reply Posted by Tom on Saturday August 2 2014 at 21:40
It's moving very close to me, we already have Pentangle selling legal highs on Sheffield Rd. And anywhere you go in Barnsley/Yorkshire/the entire UK and World for that matter there are illegal drug dealers when drugs are made illegal.
I think it is a welcome addition, hopefully it brings a few jobs to the area and helps boost trade for the other shopkeepers.

Reply Posted by sue on Saturday August 2 2014 at 22:10
How Tom will it boost trade to other shops? You mean the off license, s?. Don't forget,the shops moving up Sheffield Rd because the Arcade shops had to lock their doors! You're not thinking things through.

Reply Posted by Tom on Sunday August 3 2014 at 04:23
Smoky Sams attracts a lot of people, it will bring potential customers to the Sheffield Rd area who otherwise would not have visited. These people might purchase something from one of the thrift shops, EE general stores or local takeaways, they could even visit a couple of the remaining pubs in the area.
The arcade shops have been suffering for a long time from low footfall, they will probably lose more trade now Smoky Sams is moving. Their location might be half decent, but the overheads of running a business there are ridiculously high, and when one can buy practically anything online now fairly cheaply, the arcade's future looks pretty bleak, the shops there aren't very competitive.

There has been no statement made as to why the shop is moving to Sheffield Rd, it is most likely because the cost of operating out of a commercial premises there is far lower, than it is in the arcade.

Reply Posted by sue on Saturday August 2 2014 at 22:06
Here you are again tom. What kind of jobs will this shop bring in? 1 young kid behind a counter? Or do you mean ambulance drivers,police,street cleaners?
You are a bit deluded. I'm assuming you are a drug user by the way you're going onabout them.

Reply Posted by Tom on Sunday August 3 2014 at 05:01
There has already been people employed to decorate the outside of the building. It will need to be maintained, it will need to be staffed.
Increased footfall could drive trade in other shops, such as the taeaway, EE general stores and the thrift shops.
Ambulance drivers, police, street cleaners etc. are all public sector workers. These people are employed anyhow (or not as the case may be due to recent public job losses - we have less street cleaners now in Barnsley than we did a few years ago).
You're correct in assuming I am a drug user, everybody is. Nowadays I stick to alcohol, tobacco, the odd paracetamol, ibuprofen and the occasional prescribed antibiotics etc., although in my youth I did smoke a bit of pot. I've not used legal highs, and have no intention to, unless they are clinically tested upon willing human guinea pigs and shown to have desirable effects upon health and mental well being (e.g. dopaminie induced euphoria), without causing undesirable side affects etc. in the short, medium and long term.

The funny thing about legal highs, is that they are around because of the attitude to illegal drugs from people like you.
Whilst this might be good for organic chemists developing them and shopkeepers selling them, and perhaps even medical practictioners and big pharma (due to the data that they can collect from people using them - which would cost millions upon millions to obtain if proper clinical research was carried out). It is far from a good thing for the users.

Most legal highs are untested, there is often very little/no medical data upon them. People taking them are essentially medical guinea pigs.

The government bans a chemical, so the organic chemist with a desire for profit will tinker around to change the structure of a chemical desired by consumers so that it retains similar properties to the banned chemical, but is notably different, and uncovered by legislation and thus legal.

The game of cat and mouse between the government and chemists leads to the rapid development of new untested drugs, with increasing likelihood of undesirable side affects and thus an increase in harm to the users of such products.

Instead of this madness, I would prefer a system where we decrimanlised drugs used for centuries, some for milleni even, and regulated the to ensure they are as safe as they can be.
Such a system reduces harm to users and all the evidence is actually pointing to a decrease in recreational drug use too.

So instead of telling young people you can't do XYZ and them going out of the house to do XYZ in defiance as soon as they can.
We tell young people, you can do XYZ, this is what will happen, there isn't much point, and they don't bother trying drugs in the first place.

It's sad to think, that as many forward thinking countries are legalising and decriminalising recreational drugs, we still fight a war on drugs that has been going of for decades and has failed on every single one of it's objectives.
So instead of legal/semi legal cannabis that nobody in the history of mankind has overdosed upon, for example, we have widespread illegal drug production and use, with others now taking legal highs that try to mimic the effect of illegal drugs, with some of them even dying.

If you want people to take drugs in the first place, and subsequently suffer harm from them, the best way to go about it, is to make them illegal and keep them illegal. I for one, don't want that.

Reply Posted by Anon on Sunday August 3 2014 at 09:06
Having seen first hand what legal highs can do, I was ecstatic that this shop was going only to realise it's just being moved! Legal highs are very dangerous and do destroy lives and are far worse than many illegal drugs! Look at how many hospital admissions there are due to this crap! There Are young and old literally stood waiting for this shop opening. legal they may be but they are also very addictive and they give highs that cannot be matched by illegal drugs. The owner actively advises on what drugs to take once you become a regular although they labelled as not for human consumption. He is a drug dealer and should be treated as such! A friend of mine who has smoked weed for 20+ years. Not a lay about bum may I add, he has a successful job and family and in a moment of idiocy thought that this May be the answer to get away from weed and he almost lost everything by buying herbal haze from this shop. He was paranoid, waking all hours with a need for more. Could not focus on any task and was in general a zombie! I generally feel sorry for any person that has been exposed to this stuff as they are in for one hell of a rough ride if they don't have good support!
Making judgements on this unless you have had a first hand experience or seen firsthand the damage that it does, go and sit outside the shop and watch the state people go in then watch them come out and then tell me it will be good for Sheffield road! It's very scary, anyone who may read this that is thinking legal highs must be ok think again the only one winning is that scumbag shopowner (drug dealer) and his bank account!

Reply Posted by mary jane on Monday August 4 2014 at 02:07
free the weed ;)

Reply Posted by charlie on Tuesday August 5 2014 at 09:18
Dear mugs see you all Fri and sat usual place pub toilets in barnsley

Reply Posted by Steven lee smith on Wednesday December 9 2015 at 19:06
Well that is a load of crap I used to visit the shop very often and I have not seen anything like what has been said on here and I have had legal high from there and not had a problem maybe it's the idiots who don't use the legal high properly or they just smoke it with out anything so it's just straight legal high then which would mean they are taking the full effect and all the druggies hang around the town centre and threaten people what u doing about that Mr mp whoever you are answer that one