Plau­dits for coun­cil

Work on a legal highs pol­icy sup­ported

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES - By CHE BAKER

The Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil is be­ing praised by so­cial ser­vice groups for tak­ing a stance on the sale of legal highs and cre­at­ing an ap­proved prod­ucts pol­icy.

At a coun­cil meet­ing, held in Queen­stown last week, coun­cil­lor Ella Law­ton, on be­half of the Wanaka Al­co­hol Group, read a let­ter in sup­port of the coun­cil and mem­bers of the Hap­pi­ness House ap­plauded its work to­wards the pol­icy.

In May the Gov­ern­ment placed a tem­po­rary ban on all psy­choac­tive prod­ucts un­til a prod­uct was shown to have ‘‘low risk of harm’’ through a testing regime – which was yet to be determined and ex­pected to be es­tab­lished by the mid­dle of this year.

Sup­port Fam­i­lies Wakatipu sup­port worker Jo Moore said legal highs had been a ‘‘big is­sue’’ for Queen­stown fam­i­lies.

Moore said she had heard shock­ing sto­ries about the ef­fects of the highs.

They were not just detri­men­tal to the user, but to their fam­i­lies and their pets as well.

How­ever, Brew Worx owner Bren­dan Cameron, who used to stock the prod­ucts, said he be­lieved most peo­ple in the area were not abus­ing the prod­ucts and were us­ing it as an al­ter­na­tive to al­co­hol.

Many of those peo­ple re­sorted back to drink­ing al­co­hol.

‘‘Al­co­hol harm con­tin­ues to be a prob­lem.

‘‘My rec­om­men­da­tion for this prod­uct [legal highs] would be to make it R21,’’ Cameron said.

He be­lieved the prod­ucts may re­turn, but ‘‘it’s not go­ing to be in the same form or strength’’, and would likely be in a vapour or pill form.

Hav­ing a pol­icy in place be­fore then meant when li­cences were granted and sales be­come ap­proved, the coun­cil would have the ‘‘strong­est in­flu­ence’’ over where sales should take place. The pol­icy could not ban ap­proved prod­ucts out­right but could ban sales 200 me­tres from schools and child­care fa­cil­i­ties, 50m from an­other ap­proved re­tail premises, 30m from li­censed premises and 25m from other sen­si­tive sites.

Prod­ucts can­not be sold in in­jectable, liq­uid or pow­der form, ex­clud­ing tablet form, or where it re­sem­bles food, and can not be sold from res­i­den­tial premises, li­censed premises, vend­ing ma­chines or any lo­ca­tion fre­quented by mi­nors, such as su­per­mar­kets, con­ve­nience stores and ser­vice sta­tions.

Only the Health Min­istry and po­lice would be able en­force reg­u­la­tions.

Sub­mis­sions were be­ing called for on the pol­icy as part of public con­sul­ta­tion and three coun­cil­lors would be ap­pointed to a panel to con­sider them.

They close on April 30.

Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil­lor Ella Law­ton.

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