Central Leader - - NEWS -

Star Trust is an in­dus­try body which ad­vo­cates for drug pol­icy re­form and rep­re­sents most re­tail­ers li­censed un­der the act.

Gen­eral man­ager Grant Hall says the Govern­ment voted 119-1 in July to set strict re­tail con­trols of psy­choac­tive sub­stances in favour of pro­hi­bi­tion for good rea­son.

‘‘When they looked at all the ev­i­dence they found pro­hi­bi­tion would cause more harm to com­mu­ni­ties across New Zealand.

‘‘These people [con­sumers] are then forced to deal with or­gan­ised crime gangs and that ex­poses them to harm.’’

Le­gal highs are ‘‘low risk’’ while tobacco and al­co­hol are le­gal but con­sid­ered high risk, he says.

There have not been any deaths re­lated to le­gal highs in New Zealand, he says.

‘‘More people die from fall­ing co­conuts than syn­thetic cannabis in New Zealand.

‘‘If coun­cil­lors are gen­uinely sup­port­ive of cre­at­ing bet­ter health out­comes we would say look at the ev­i­dence politi­cians looked at and de­cided to vote in favour of these out­lets.’’

The Star Trust re­cently an­nounced it was seek­ing a ju­di­cial re­view of Hamil­ton Coun­cil’s pol­icy, adopted on Fe­bru­ary 27, af­ter it forced the tem­po­rary clo­sure of six le­gal high shops this month ( Waikato Times, March 15).

The Min­istry of Health sus­pended the shop’s li­censes be­cause the pol­icy says sell­ers have to op­er­ate at least 100 me­tres away from sen­si­tive sites.

Mr Grant says he’s heard that ‘‘Hamil­ton tinny houses have had a roar­ing trade thanks to pro­hi­bi­tion’’.

Low risk:

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