LAPP potential irks retailer
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.