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August 6, 2012 | by  | in News |
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Crack Out The Bong

Govt Blazes New Trail; Says Yes To Drugs 

The Government has revealed the details for a new law which will allow the return of ‘low risk’ synthetic cannabis and other highs to shop shelves by 2014.

Manufacturers will have to pay the ministry $2 million to have the safety of a product verified, under the new legislation spearheaded by Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne.

Dunne played a key role in the temporary twelve-month banning of synthetic cannabis products in August last year, but he says legalising and regulating the drugs will make their consumption safer for New Zealanders.

“That is the absolute intention behind this regime. The problem in the past has been that we had a totally unregulated market with who-knows-what substances in these products,” he said.

The law will fail however to discourage drug use, because the Government would

be effectively endorsing their consumption by “guaranteeing that any adverse effects are minimised,” says Victoria’s Professor of Psychology and drug abuse expert, Susan Schenk.

This is problematic because 15 per cent of people who experiment with psychoactive drugs eventually become dependent on them, she said.

“Is this a risk NZ is willing to take?”

Furthermore, while the law will be an improvement on New Zealand’s current regulations, proper clinical trials would cost in the range of $100 million, substantially more than the $2 million proposed by Dunne, said Schenk. And because the drugs cannot be tested on humans, it remains unclear how the trial results will be interpreted.

One student Salient spoke to was in favour of the regulation but questioned whether synthetic cannabis would ever become the

preferred alternative to marijuana.

Another student said he would not use synthetic highs again after he and his friends had bad experiences on the legal high Salvia Divinorum.

“One of my friends tried to jump into a poster on a wall because he thought the people in the poster were trying to attack him.”

Ross Bell of the NZ Drug Foundation said the law posed questions about the way people perceive drug use.

“What happens when someone invents the pill or the powder that gets you the high you want, is completely non-addictive and safe to drive on?”

But Professor Schenk says there is a certain level of naïvety when someone claims a drug is non-addictive.

“I have yet to know of such a beast.”

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  1. Midgey says:

    If you and your friends are looking to try something for shits and giggles, Salvia Divinorum is not the place to start and indeed even seasoned users of it tend to stay away from the more potent strains (25x, 50x).

    In fact, Salvia is not a synthetic high, it’s a plant from the cloud forests of Mexico that’s been used meditatively by shamans for many centuries. So it’s basically excluded from Dunne’s current interests and shouldn’t be lumped in with the rest of these substances.

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