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News (Media Awareness Project) - New Zealand: Boycott Looms For Retailers Over Synthetic
Title:New Zealand: Boycott Looms For Retailers Over Synthetic
Published On:2011-07-03
Source:Bay Of Plenty Times (New Zealand)
Fetched On:2011-07-04 06:01:59

Calls to ban Kronic and boycott the Bay stores selling it are being
made after it was discovered this week that some of the brand's
synthetic cannabis was laced with prescription medicine.

This week Pineapple Express, one of the products in the Kronic range,
was found to contain phenazepam, an anti-anxiety and anti-convulsion drug.

A Bay of Plenty Times Weekend street survey of 100 people found 69
per cent of those questioned in Downtown Tauranga wanted Kronic
banned. And an online poll on bayofplentytimes.co.nz had 84 per cent
of the 132 respondents backing a ban.

Wayne Aberhart, the Waikato Bay of Plenty Police Association's
regional director, said it was time Kronic was pulled from the shelves.

"From reports I've heard it's a nasty, nasty piece of work," Mr
Aberhart said. "But if no one stocks it you can't buy it."

He tells parents who find their teenager is using Kronic to get it
out of the house and find out where it was bought.

"I tell them to say you're not going to shop at their store anymore," he said.

He was unsure what it was made of so was not sure if it could be made
a Class C drug but said "it certainly sends people off".

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges said he would like to see Kronic gone from
Tauranga shops.

"Responsible retailers should choose not to stock them and Tauranga
people can vote with their feet and shop at outlets that choose not
to," Mr Bridges said.

"Frankly, the pulling this week of Pineapple Express and the
investigation by authorities into at least one other associated
product makes it clear to me that stocking these untried and untested
products is very unwise.

"Not only do the retailers face the risk of egg on their face if
something bad happens as a result of these substances, but I would
have thought they're also in jeopardy of legal action against them.

"For their sake and for the good of the community they should choose
not to stock this stuff."

One dairy taking that advice is Tauranga City Lotto.

Sharandip Kaur said when other dairies in the CBD started stocking
Kronic they felt under pressure to do the same.

"People kept coming in and asking for it and saying 'why don't you
sell it'," Mrs Kaur said.

The store made one bulk order and had just a few packets left to sell
but would not be ordering more.

"We didn't realise then that it is this bad.

Now we've seen what is in the paper and how it is affecting young people.

"I don't want my kids to have it. Sometimes money is not everything."

The Government is set to make changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act in
the next few weeks which would make it possible to place strong
restrictions on Kronic.

The restrictions would make it illegal to supply Kronic to under 18s,
give it away as a reward or prize or advertise it in a public place.
It would be illegal to sell it anywhere that had a liquor licence,
service stations, vehicles and anywhere that children gather.

The packaging would have to carry a warning against driving or
operating machinery after smoking it and state what it contains and
the contact details for the manufacturer and the National Poisons Centre.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said the Government also wanted
to make it the manufacturer's responsibility to prove its product was
safe rather than the onus of proof being on government to prove it was unsafe.

"That has seen products on the market that we do not want on the
market, and the requirement to prove they are unsafe invariably takes
time," Mr Dunne said.

"What's more when it's done, they simply change an ingredient or two
and it is back to square one with the whole process."

Dr Leo Schep of the National Poisons Centre said Kronic should be
banned because there was "so much we don't know about it".

"We are seeing cases where people who take the stuff have concerning
clinical effects," Dr Schep said.

"It's going straight from the lab and on to the street without
testing whatsoever."

Dr Schep said the Government's proposed restrictions were a step in
the right direction.

Mount Maunganui general practitioner Dr Tony Farrell said he did not
want to see Kronic banned as doing so would send sales to the black market.

However, he agreed with the Government that products like Kronic
needed to be shown to be safe by the manufacturer.

Get Smart Clinician Krista Davis, who works with teens in Tauranga
high schools, said making Kronic illegal could send the message that
it was not safe but she doubted it would stop those who enjoy it from
continuing to use it. "Just because something is made illegal,
doesn't mean people won't illegally buy and use it ...

"I think the main benefit of making Kronic illegal, regardless of
what class, is that the public will no longer make the assumption
that Kronic is safe merely because it's legal," Ms Davis said.
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