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News (Media Awareness Project) - New Zealand: Police Begin Clampdown On Legal Highs
Title:New Zealand: Police Begin Clampdown On Legal Highs
Published On:2011-07-08
Source:Nelson Mail, The (New Zealand)
Fetched On:2011-07-10 06:02:35

Nelson's alcohol outlets are being asked to pull all party pills and
cannabinoids from their shelves or risk having their licences

Meanwhile, a store owner is warning that authorities will be giving
business back to the gangs if they ban party pills altogether.

Police Alcohol Harm Reduction Sergeant Mike Fitzsimons said since the
synthetic cannabis product Kronic Pineapple Express had been banned,
he'd told licensed premises that they shouldn't be selling similar
substances or party pills.

"It came to my notice there was one place selling it. I've spoken to
them and they've pulled everything off the shelves."

It's not illegal for licensed premises to sell such substances but the
Liquor Licensing Authority has discretion to decide whether someone is
"fit and proper" to hold a liquor licence. Police would argue they
weren't if they sold these products, Mr Fitzsimons said.

"Should they continue to do so we would be seeking a suspension
hearing before the Liquor Licensing Authority. I thought it was
helpful that everyone was aware that was the position."

There was a clear need for demarcation between drugs and alcohol, he

Hospitality Association Nelson branch president Ron Taylor said he
didn't have any problems with police not wanting licensed premises to
be selling party pills and other such substances.

"Alcohol and something like that mixed together - everyone knows it
doesn't work. We probably welcome it a little bit."

A spokeswoman at the Junction Hotel in Takaka confirmed yesterday that
it had removed stock from its shelves on advice from the police.

Golden Bay Liquorland owner Sue Shuttleworth said she returned all her
Kronic stock last week and wouldn't be stocking any similar products.

"The only reason we got it was other places had been selling it for
months and months."

These products caused more grief than they were worth, she said:
"They're legal - I don't know why everybody is so up in arms about

Tim Kelly, owner of the Gizmo stores in Nelson and Richmond, said
police in Auckland had taken a similar approach against licensed
premises selling such products.

While he agreed they weren't a good mix with alcohol, Mr Kelly said
the biggest problem was stopping young people accessing them.

"We're really strict on ID. The majority of people that buy them from
us are between 20 and 50 anyway."

Police would be better concentrating on dairies, he said.

Mr Kelly said he expected the Government to put an end to all party
pill sales within the next six months, given recent comments from
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne.

He believed party pills, cannabinoids and other such substances has
"cut into the gang profits hugely".

"Just regulate it and then at least you've still got some control over

A spokesman for Mr Dunne said the minister supported the Nelson police

"The Government is looking at tighter controls around synthetic

"The details of this will be announced in the next few weeks."
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