Focus on the Land
Synthetic cannabis still finding its way on to shop shelves here
Saturday, August 18, 2012
AT least one shop in Gisborne is still selling synthetic cannabis as manufacturers manage to get around government efforts to ban them.
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne extended “temporary class” drug notices on Monday to continue a ban on 16 synthetic cannabis substances for a further 12 months.
The initial one-year notices — issued as a result of legislation passed last year — were due to expire yesterday.
The Gisborne Herald understands at least one local shop is selling varieties of synthetic cannabis known as “Tai High”, a product that has been associated with psychotic episodes in some users.
An Oamaru doctor called the product “evil” this week, citing two cases of patients suffering “serious psychotic problems” after allegedly taking it.
A packet obtained by The Herald lists the chemicals it does not contain but does not say what it does contain — just saying it does not contain any of the banned substances.
Although marketed as an alternative to illegal drugs, the website for Tai High has a disclaimer saying the product is sold as “not for human consumption” and whatever the user chose to do with the product was up to them.
Permanent psychoactive legislation is due to be enacted mid-next year but Mr Dunne wants to ensure these products do not slip back on the market before then.
“This is about making sure there is no gap for those who may look to bring substances back on the market before the new law forces them to prove their products are safe,” he said.
Kronik and Spice were some of the popular brands of synthetic cannabis affected by the ban last year and in March another three substances – chemicals AM-1248, AM-2232 and UR-144 – were added to the ban.
Mr Dunne announced key details of the new psychoactive substances drug legislation last month which would require distributors and producers of party pills and other legal highs to prove a product was safe before they could sell them.
“As I have said, the new law will mean the game of ‘catch up’ with the legal highs industry will be over once and for all,” Mr Dunne said.
The permanent regime will establish a new regulator within the Ministry of Health which will be responsible for issuing approvals.
“Companies wishing to sell such products will need to apply to this regulator with scientific data similar to that which is required for the assessment of new medicines.”
Mr Dunne says even once approved, any such products are likely to be subject to retail restrictions on purchase age and premises where they can be sold, which will further reduce potential to cause harm.
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