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July 22, 2013 | by  | in News |
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Legislation Puffed and Passed

MPs have been active on psychoactive substances, effectively banning many legal highs.

The new Psychoactive Substances Act imposes restrictions on the availability and accessibility of so-called ‘legal highs’. It was passed on July 11, with support across parties: 119 members voted in favour, and one against.

The new law sets up a regulatory framework where manufacturers will have to prove their products are ‘low risk’ before they can be sold. Products will be prohibited from dairies, grocery stores and petrol stations nationwide, and all individuals purchasing the products must be at least 18 years old. Cosmic Corner have said the Act will effectively ban all synthetic cannabinoids.

“To those under 18 thinking of using these products, or those contemplating supplying them, take my advice: it’s just not worth it,” says Associate Health Minister Todd McClay.

Restrictions on the advertising and marketing of these products have been established, and anyone breaching these rules will face up to two years in prison or a fine of up to half a million dollars.

Todd McClay is adamant that the new Act will help the public make an informed decision before purchasing a psychoactive substance.

“This Bill is squarely about public safety and will ensure that the onus will be on anyone wanting to produce a psychoactive product to show it poses no more than a low risk of harm.”

McClay is glad that local authorities, police and health services now have an effective legislative tool that allows them to control and regulate the use of these substances throughout New Zealand.

“This is an important first step, particularly with the start of school holidays. But we need to be aware that for some, particularly young people, there may be withdrawal issues or other health-related problems that will need to be addressed.”

New Zealand Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell is hopeful that this “world-first” legislation will bring New Zealand one step closer to safer, better-regulated drug legislation.

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