LAPP po­ten­tial irks re­tailer

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By MARY-JO TO­HILL

A Queen­stown re­tailer, who pre­vi­ously sold le­gal highs, is disgusted at the pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing ban­ished from the town cen­tre to an in­dus­trial area, if coun­cil by-laws change where out­lets can be sit­u­ated.

Brew-Worx & Be­yond owner Bren­don Cameron, whose home­brew­ing busi­ness is in the Bay Cen­tre Ar­cade in Beach St, Queen­stown, at­tended a fo­rum in Wanaka last week, to dis­cuss the pres­ence of psy­choac­tive sub­stances in the com­mu­nity.

Cameron later told the Mir­ror he be­lieved there was prej­u­dice against and stereo­typ­ing of the people who sold syn­thetic cannabis prod­ucts and those who used them.

‘‘It is deroga­tory to pre­de­ter­mine that ev­ery­one who chooses an al­ter­na­tive to al­co­hol to wind down are ‘crim­i­nals’; that is the most dis­gust­ing thing.’’

This arose from dis­cus­sion at the meet­ing about how the Queen­stown Lakes District Coun­cil could ap­ply its Lo­cal Ap­proved Prod­uct Pol­icy or LAPP, to con­trol or pre­vent sub­stances be­ing sold, used or dis­trib­uted in cer­tain places in the fu­ture, in this case le­gal highs, such as Thai High, Kronic and K2.

Cameron be­lieved there was fear as­so­ci­ated with the use ‘‘of a low-risk al­ter­na­tive to al­co­hol in the com­mu­nity’’.

He later said: ‘‘. . . the real is­sues are around the gen­eral al­co­hol prob­lem that ex­ists in ev­ery com­mu­nity but for some rea­son an al­ter­nate prod­uct, that has al­ready proven to be sig­nif­i­cantly lower risk across the board, is to be pos­si­bly ban­ished to an in­dus­trial area’’.

De­spite a 70-80 per cent loss of busi­ness and hav­ing to lay off staff as a re­sult of the ban, which took ef­fect last month, Cameron still wel­comed reg­u­la­tion of psy­choac­tive sub­stances, as this meant ‘‘harm min­imi­sa­tion’’ and also stopped a black-mar­ket form­ing.

‘‘It taps into and dis­rupts the lu­cra­tive non-taxed un­der­world . . .’’ Coun­cil reg­u­la­tory man­ager Lee Web­ster was also con­cerned the in­def­i­nite pe­riod of the Govern­ment’s in­terim ban would drive the sale of le­gal highs ‘‘un­der­ground’’.

‘‘Un­til the Govern­ment de­cides how to fur­ther test them and de­ter­mine what is low or high risk, we’re in a bit of a tricky sit­u­a­tion. In the mean­time, un­til that hap­pens, un­der­ground drugs are go­ing to be a prob­lem.’’

Cameron be­lieved the sit­u­a­tion would be far worse once stock­piles di­min­ished and when the on­line mar­ket re-started.

‘‘The is­sue go­ing for­ward is there will be no qual­ity con­trol over what people are in­gest­ing; at least with the prod­ucts we sold, they had to dis­close all in­gre­di­ents with nu­mer­ous health warn­ings . . . in the black mar­ket it could sim­ply be tea leaves sprayed with fly spray . . .’

The im­pact of le­gal highs was sim­i­lar to P (metham­phetamine), panel mem­ber Ad­ven­ture De­vel­op­ment New Zealand so­cial worker Struan Macdon­ald claimed. In his work with 13-17-year-olds in South­land, he had noted symp­toms such as loss of con­trol, com­pul­sive use, se­vere with­drawals, ir­ri­tabil­ity and mood swings.

Macdon­ald also said that young people were clearly op­er­at­ing un­der a mis­con­cep­tion that be­cause it’s le­gal it’s safe.

‘‘What’s safe? If it’s used in a recre­ational fash­ion . . . but ob­vi­ously it’s not used in a recre­ational fash­ion,’’ Con­sta­ble Phil Vink said.

Tar­geted: Bren­don Cameron be­lieves there is prej­u­dice against and stereo­typ­ing of people who sell syn­thetic cannabis.

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