File photo / Dean Purcell
“The Government will ban all synthetic drugs within two weeks until they can be proven to be low-risk, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has revealed.
The move comes as Labour plans to announce its own policy on psychoactive substances tomorrow, and follows increasing protest from local communities against legal highs.
Mr Dunne told the Herald this afternoon: “Last Tuesday, Cabinet agreed on a proposal from me to introduce legislation under urgency when Parliament resumes to remove the remaining 41 products from the shelves until such time as their low-level of risk can be prevented.
He said he would have made the announcement earlier but he did not want to encourage stock-piling of the drugs.
The emergency legislation will be introduced when Parliament resumed on May 6, and will be passed under urgency.
“I’m expecting it to be passed that particular week and to take effect pretty much immediately afterwards,” Mr Dunne said.
This meant there would be no psychoactive substances for sale in New Zealand for “some considerable amount of time”.
There are currently 150 outlets selling legal highs nationwide.
The Psychoactive Substances Act required synthetic drug manufacturers to prove their drugs were low-risk before they could be sold.
But a Ministry of Health testing regime and several other regulations were not yet in place.
In the interim, drugs which had temporary approval from an expert committee were permitted to be sold.”
But the Labour Party was to introduce its own proposed legislation tomorrow.This proves it was just a quick about face by a government under pressure. This is not going to produce what is needed under the circumstances. John Key also said he doesn’t support testing by animals. Possible stockpiling is really just a red-herring. The government was caught with its pants down. Of course all opposition parties will support the governments bill in principle, but will it be good law? it was obvious the National Government just wanted to sleep-walk until the election. But this is a really serious matter. Synthetic cannabis use is a serious health risk. The debate on the bill will be an interesting time in the Parliament in a few weeks.
A Footnote: A few weeks ago Peter Dunne said,”You can’t just ban it!” Yeah right, Peter!
http://www.labour.org.nz/NoSynthetics Labour serious about getting rid of synthetic cannabis…