Legally off the shelves

Syn­thetic cannabis may be back in Otago

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By CHE BAKER

Cen­tral Otago’s sole syn­thetic cannabis re­tailer has been forced to re­move the prod­ucts from their shelves but it’s likely that could be short lived and they will be back on the mar­ket soon. C ’n C Traders owner Bill Cle­ments of Alexan­dra was re­quired to re­move all syn­thetic cannabis stock from his store af­ter the Psy­choac­tive Sub­stances Act came into force on July 18. The law for­bids sale of a prod­uct un­less an of­fi­cial reg­u­la­tor ap­pointed by the Min­is­ter of Health has ap­proved it and un­der the new leg­is­la­tion, man­u­fac­tur­ers must prove their prod­uct has a low level of harm be­fore it can be sold. While some retailers, such as Mr Cle­ments, will be able to ap­ply for a li­cense to sell the ap­proved prod­ucts, dairies, con­ve­nience stores and ser­vice sta­tions can­not. Cen­tral Otago sub-area com­man­der se­nior sergeant Ian Ker­risk said Mr Cle­ments has

in­di­cated he has ap­plied for the li­cense. A po­lice check on the store on Mon­day found Mr Cle­ments had not been sell­ing the prod­ucts since the law was brought in last Wed­nes­day. How­ever, it was found his view of the act and the views of po­lice ‘‘dif­fer’’ and the Min­istry of Health have been con­tacted to re­view the con­cerns. ‘‘We will con­tinue to be mon­i­tor­ing,’’ Mr Ker­risk said. When con­tacted by the Mir­ror yes­ter­day Mr Cle­ments re­fused to comment. Mr Ker­risk said the change in the law ‘‘is a pos­i­tive step in re­duc­ing the risk around harm­ful sub­stances be­ing sold to the pub­lic.’’ Un­der the Act all prod­ucts, in­clud­ing party pills, en­ergy pills and her­bal highs, must be la­belled with health warn­ings, a list of the ac­tive in­gre­di­ents, con­tact de­tails for the man­u­fac­turer or dis­trib­u­tor and the tele­phone num­ber of the National Poi­sons Cen­tre. Ad­ver­tis­ing and la­belling was not al­lowed to ap­peal to mi­nors. Prod­ucts can be with­drawn from the mar­ket if ad­verse ef­fects, in­clud­ing re­ports of ad­dic­tion, were con­firmed and new of­fences have been cre­ated for breaches of re­quire­ments un­der the act. The Psy­choac­tive Sub­stances Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity were tak­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for in­terim li­censes to sell psy­choac­tive prod­ucts which have been granted in­terim ap­proval. Deputy po­lice com­mis­sioner Mike Bush said ‘‘po­lice be­lieve that by se­verely re­strict­ing the sale of th­ese prod­ucts fewer peo­ple will ex­pe­ri­ence the harm­ful ef­fects of smok­ing or in­gest­ing un­known syn­thetic chem­i­cals’’. ‘‘There has been sig­nif­i­cant and jus­ti­fied com­mu­nity con­cern over the im­pact th­ese prod­ucts have had through­out the coun­try and this leg­is­la­tion is a key means to re­spond to this harm,’’ Mr Bush said. With the power to take en­force­ment ac­tion, po­lice will be able to re­spond to com­mu­nity con­cerns far more ef­fec­tively, he said.

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