Highs and lows of legal highs debate
Legal highs or woeful lows? The Psychoactive Substances Act came into force last July to regulate the manufacture and sale of legal high products. The law enables councils to develop their own policies to control where synthetic cannabis and party pills c
Auckland’s city centre has plenty of legal high retailers. There are 14 stores which hold interim licenses to sell the products, seven of which are on K’ Rd.
With input from local boards and the public, Auckland Council’s $95,000 Local Approved Products Policy will likely be adopted at its Regional Strategy and Policy Committee’s first meeting of 2015.
Manurewa Local Board wants the shops banned from the suburbs and none within 100 metres of ‘‘sensitive sites’’ such as schools, kindergartens and churches.
Orakei Local Board chairwoman Desley Simpson supports Manurewa’s stance, but says there needs to be wider discussion around the impacts of any new legislation, she says.
‘‘It’s obviously a real problem in parts of Auckland.
‘‘Personally I’m not a fan of them but how you legislate on these issues is very difficult.
‘‘You don’t want them available for kids but on the other hand, are they going to go looking for it if it’s not around?’’
Waitemata Local Board chairman Shale Chambers says legal highs are a ‘‘growing concern’’. There are currently ‘‘social issues’’ with people using legal highs at Myers Park, he says.
‘‘We’re not talking homeless here, we’re talking about young people, mainly men, congregating at Myers Park on legal highs causing social issues. Mr Chambers says banning them is not the answer but they do need to be more vigilantly controlled.
A bylaw would determine suitable locations for legal high shops, he says.
‘‘Around the civic centre of Auckland is not the appropriate place for such outlets to be based.
‘‘They certainly need controlling and restricting at an appropriate level, just like alcohol and prostitution.’’