Le­gal high ban cre­ates con­cern

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE -

Months of na­tion­wide pres­sure to ban syn­thetic cannabis has fi­nally swayed the govern­ment but it could be too lit­tle too late for those al­ready ad­dicted.

The weekend brought the Govern­ment’s an­nounce­ment of leg­is­la­tion to ban syn­thet­ics un­til they are deemed low risk.

The ban will be pushed through un­der ur­gency on May 8.

But anti-syn­thetic cam­paigner Julie King said while it is the right move, the de­lay in ban­ning the le­gal highs has only seen the num­ber of ad­dicts grow.

‘‘It’s not some­thing that I can jump up and down over,’’ she said.

‘‘People will still find those drugs, but at least it is not right in front of them,’’ she said.

Prior to the an­nounce­ment, King started a sup­port group for those ad­dicted to the sub­stances.

‘‘ We just want to let them know we care,’’ she said.

The group is still in plan­ning stages and King said she would need to seek pro­fes­sion­als to help those who are ad­dicted.

Ha­bit­ual users ap­proached by the

had mixed re­ac­tions too.

Cur­tis, a smoker who did not want to give his last name, said the syn­thet­ics were an easy op­tion be­cause they were le­gal.

He be­lieved smok­ers would lose their jobs be­cause they would start smok­ing mar­i­juana.

He also pre­dicted a neg­a­tive ef­fect once the ban is in place.

‘‘A lot of people are go­ing to get an­gry,’’ he said.

An­other user Tim Cas­sidy said the ban would cre­ate a black mar­ket.

‘‘I have no doubt it will go un­der­ground and be con­trolled by gangs and drug lords. I started tak­ing this cause I use to smoke mar­i­juana for 15 years and got sick of deal­ing with tin­nie houses and hav­ing il­le­gal stuff on me.’’

Sep­a­rated by one shop is the Ex­port Meat Ware­house.

Owner Ivan Gray said his cus­tomers and em­ploy­ees will cer­tainly be bet­ter off when the ban takes ef­fect.

‘‘ There’s been a cer­tain amount of beg­ging,’’ he said. ‘‘Hope­fully we won’t have as many as people loi­ter­ing.’’ Toko­roa Hospi­tal man­ager Joanne

Knight also wel- comed the ban and hoped her staff would no longer have to deal with pa­tients on a syn­thetic high.

‘‘ The staff have to deal with ag­gres­sion, ver­bal abuse, hav­ing to man­age pa­tients who are so phys­i­cally af­fected by these prod­ucts that they can of­ten not work, talk or con­trol their sense in any way.’’

South Waikato District coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Craig Hobbs said the coun­cil had no idea the an­nounce­ment was com­ing.

‘‘ We wel­come it, we are just won­der­ing what took them so long, as we had asked this ques­tion less than a month ago.’’

The ban comes af­ter the coun­cil worked on the fi­nal stages of a Lo­cal Ap­proved Prod­ucts Pol­icy(LAPP).

The $4000 LAPP is set to be re­leased for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on May 7 and com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Kerry Fabrie said it will still go for­ward.

‘‘Coun­cil has no in­ten­tion of de­lay­ing the con­sul­ta­tion un­nec­es­sar­ily re­gard­less of the re­cent an­nounce­ment.’’

Fabrie said the coun­cil shared con­cern over the aftermath of the ban. ‘‘ We do have some con­cern over the im­pact on so­cial or­gan­i­sa­tions like the health care and coun­selling sys­tems as people who are ad­dicted to these sub­stances

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