Manawatu Standard

Synthetic cannabis dealers in dock

- Jono Galuszka

A Manawatu¯ man lost his house, his career and nearly his life after becoming addicted to synthetic cannabis.

But having the synthetics business he ran with his partner busted has put them both back on the wagon.

Eruera Phillip Joyce and Makere Taitapanui were sentenced in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday to home detention for supplying AMB-FUBINACA, better known as synthetic cannabis.

Joyce must serve eight months’ home detention and Taitapanui six months.

The class A drug the pair dealt is an extremely dangerous substance linked to many deaths in New Zealand.

Joyce and Taitapanui sold from their Palmerston North home for about six months before they were raided by police in July last year.

Joyce was found in a shed with zip-lock bags containing 20.25 grams of synthetic cannabis, as well as $310 cash and two small bags of methamphet­amine.

Taitapanui was inside the house, where police found eight zip-lock bags containing 8g of synthetic cannabis.

She told police they had been dealing the drug from the start of the year, selling small bags for $20 a pop to make $400 a week.

Police estimated the couple made about $9600 from their deals.

Joyce’s lawyer Fergus Steedman said Joyce had gone cold turkey since being arrested and had attended drug counsellin­g sessions.

He first tried cannabis aged 17, but moved to synthetic cannabis when it became legal.

He had a successful career, which included managing 60 staff, and bought a house just before starting his own venture.

But that came tumbling down when his addiction meant he could not afford his mortgage, Steedman said.

He started dealing synthetic cannabis to pay for his and Taitapanui’s addictions.

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