Action urged on synthetic drugs
The Government is working as fast as it can to ban synthetic cannabis, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says. Vincent Community Board chairperson Clair Higginson said the board wrote to Ms Dean and Prime Minister John Key last week urging them to tackle the problem now, rather than wait until the Psychoactive Substances Bill becomes law in August. But Ms Dean said Parliament was working through the process of implementing a new law as fast as it could. ‘‘Every
is concerned about this issue, so we’re going as quickly as possible We’re already well through the process - a shortened process - of Parliament. ‘‘We’ve got to make good law, or the manufacturers will get around it.’’ The process would August, she said. The Alexandra police expressed frustration to the community board last month about the lack of tools they have to deal with the problems caused by people who have smoked synthetic cannabis. Each time one of the ingredients was banned, manufacturers found a replacement.
in Thirty-four ingredients have been prohibited since mid 2011. Nationally, police deputy commissioner Mike Bush said officers were seeing the consequences of synthetic cannabis use more and more. ‘‘Police are finding that K2 and similar substances are becoming an increasingly concerning factor in a number of crimes, including violent offending. ‘‘This is being driven by people either committing crime to get their hands on these drugs, or committing crimes while on them.’’ Seven aggravated robberies in the southern policing district recently had been committed by people using weapons ranging from knives to firearms to demand synthetic cannabis products. Police were also concerned about the number of young people involved in incidents where synthetic cannabis use was a factor, and about the health problems the products were causing, including increased heart rates and seizures. The only Central Otago shop which sells synthetic cannabis products, C and C Traders in Alexandra, has been widely criticised. Ms Dean said members of several communities throughout the country had confronted shop owners selling the products. ‘‘I take my hat off to anyone prepared to do that. ‘‘I commend the (Vincent) Community Board for being prepared to stand up on this issue.’’ Ms Higginson said the Alexandra Youth Forum had also expressed concern about the products to the board and frustration over how little the police could do about the problems they were causing until the bill was passed into law. The new legislation would require manufacturers and distributors of the products to prove they were safe before selling them.