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’’.