Stores withdraw product
Synthetic cannabis is a huge concern for the police and the Matamata community, says Senior Sergeant Rod Carpinter.
Some brands of Kronic have been banned by the Government and a further review is under way to make amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act.
‘‘Some adolescents portray that it is a legal way to sample the effects of an illegal substance,’’ Mr Carpinter said.
The so-called legal highs have come under scrutiny. Eight substances were banned recently in Australia.
Matamata youth were at serious risk of becoming dependent on synthetic cannabis products, said Stephen Prebble from Starfish Social Services.
Mr Prebble said there were young regular users in Matamata who exhibited the characteristics of dependent users.
‘‘Young people might have used cannabis in the past and due to court restrictions are under curfew, so they can’t use the illegal substances but they can quite easily go to the dairy,’’ he said. ‘‘They can buy the legal cannabis substances and get around curfew in a sense, buying what they can over the counter.’’
Synthetic cannabis can only be sold to people aged 18 and over.
But the controversial substance is finding its way into the hands of young people.
‘‘Young people below the legal age of purchase; as young as 15, are using it regularly,’’ said Mr Prebble.
The users display symptoms of withdrawal if the product is unavailable, such as irritability, anxiety and aggression.
Some store owners in Matamata have withdrawn the products after discussion with the police.
‘‘It is very heartening to show community responsibility about a synthetic product that has same side effects as an illegal substance,’’ Mr Carpinter said.
But the products remain widely available.
Mr Prebble said the sooner the products were banned in dairies the better.
‘‘Young people would be using it and it is going to affect their schooling.
‘‘ It is going to affect aspects of their lives.’’
Senior Sergeant Rod Carpinter said the police were aware that students had been experimenting.
‘‘We strongly recommend that parents make all attempts to discourage this experimentation.’’