Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 ‘castrated by election year politicking’

Written by Legal Highs NZ on . Posted in Legal Highs, Psychoactive Substances

Public concern about the return of legal highs sold through retailers are misplaced according to the legal highs industry.

“Currently there are no manufacturers in New Zealand seeking to apply for a license to develop a recreational product…

star trust logoThe Star Trust
March 10th 2015 

Public concern about the return of legal highs sold through retailers are misplaced according to the legal highs industry.

“Currently there are no manufacturers in New Zealand seeking to apply for a license to develop a recreational product and therefore it is unlikely any retailers would also be applying for a license,” said Grant Hall from Industry body The STAR Trust.

In 2013 the Government voted 119-1 in favour of establishing a strictly regulated marketplace for low risk psychoactive products but with subsequent amendments made just before the 2014 election the retail marketplace was actually shut down.

Recent media reports have highlighted the fact that the marketplace never went away when the products were removed from licensed retailers.

“The blackmarket is thriving in synthetic cannabis products but it exists without any controls to protect the public, which ironically was the original goal of the Act.” said Hall

In the next few months applications will open for retailers to apply for a license to sell psychoactive products that are approved by the Ministry of Health.

It now seems that the Government which set up the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority has invested millions of taxpayer dollars into funding an organisation that may have very little to do.

“If you see someone smoking synthetic cannabis then they got it from a tinny house where there is no quality control, no age checks and no taxes paid. This criminal market often exposes people to harder drugs and ultimately leads to worse public health outcomes.” stated Hall.

The STAR Trust insists that synthetic cannabis would never be approved by the Authority in a smoking format anyhow, but rather a pill or vaporiser option as smoking would not meet the required low risk test. Adult shops who previously sold legal highs are ready to sell licensed products but with nothing in development they are wondering what, if anything, will ever get licensed.

Mr Hall called upon the Government to ‘show some vision’ and recognise that sometime in the future these retailers would be the ones most likely to be retailing medical cannabis products when prohibition ends. “We are seeing a wave of reform in the United States now where finally good science and common sense are giving people back the right to access medical cannabinoid products from licensed retailers. This model is working to both reduce harms and enforcement costs, whilst also generating taxes.”

The recent statement by the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Tony Abbott that ‘medical cannabis should be regulated like medical morphine’ makes it seem inevitable that New Zealand would someday follow this lead and finally review our Misuse of Drugs Act as recommended by the New Zealand Law Commission in 2010.

The Psychoactive Substances Act would need a further amendment to be able to consider medical cannabis for licensing but the STAR Trust believes that this would be simple to do and that a clear public mandate for this kind of reform exists now.
ENDS

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