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News (Media Awareness Project) - New Zealand: Bosses To Be Able To Test For Synthetic Cannabis
Title:New Zealand: Bosses To Be Able To Test For Synthetic Cannabis
Published On:2011-07-12
Source:New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Fetched On:2011-07-14 06:01:43

Employers will be able to test staff for synthetic cannabis use but
those behind the testing admit creative chemistry will mean
identifying users could be a game of cat and mouse.

Environment Science and Research (ESR) announced yesterday it had
developed a method to enable testing of the synthetic cannabinoids
found in "legal highs" such as Kronic.

The move was immediately slammed as "advertorial" for ESR's services
by Matt Bowden, who imports the chemicals used to make Kronic.

Mr Bowden said while employers had the right to identify staff stoned
at work, the tests would ensnare others.

"Testing urine to find out what good, hardworking employees have been
doing in the weekend? Don't take the piss."

The ESR also released a list of the synthetic cannabinoids found in
each of the 41 products it recently screened.

Eleven varieties of cannabinoids were found and 10 of the products
screened contained an elaborate cocktail of four or more. Two
compounds have yet to be identified.

The same screening led to the recall of Kronic Pineapple Express and
Cosmic Corner's Juicy Puff Super Strength after they were found to
contain the prescription sedative phenazepam.

Little is known about the health effects of the chemicals or what
effect their combination may have.

The products all contained JWH-018 or JWH-073 cannabinoids, which
enabled ESR to develop a test for JWH chemicals metabolised in the body.

Dr Keith Bedford, ESR's general manager of forensic research,
admitted testing would need to be constantly developed to keep up
with the ever-changing nature of compounds used.

"It's a real challenge. And we've seen in the New Zealand party drug
scene over several years a continuing rolling process of new
substances appearing."

Last Friday, eight of the most popular synthetic cannabis products
were banned across Australia after action from the Federal Government.

Mr Bowden would not comment on whether Kronic would develop new
blends of their products to skirt the Australian ban or workplace testing.

"Australia is a country where millions of people use recreational
drugs, and so millions of people are being penalised.

"Those people do deserve a safe alternative, I think. We'll just wait
and see what happens over there."

Mr Bowden said publicising the screening results risked more
"backyard cooks" trying to manufacture synthetic cannabis from home.

"Some consumers might go to the internet and start trying to buy
these chemicals, and they probably won't have a lot of information of
dosage. So there's potential for disaster there."

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said ESR's screening validated
the Government's move to regulate the industry.

"The information today is a further validation of the strong steps
the Government is taking," he said, "and a further condemnation of an
irresponsible industry."


One synthetic cannabinoid:

Tai High - New Super Strength Gold, Burn Apple Incense, Tokearoa
High, High Dro, Dust FTP, 127 Is Illusion Maximum Strength, Not Pot -
Rhino Strength Ganja Gang Delta, Ismoke, Puff The Magic Dragon, Dream
1.25 London Underground, Jungle Juice Wizard, Zohan, Kronic Potent
Incense, Amsterdam Cafe Havana Special, Is Illusion 125, Is Illusion
125 High Strength Blend, Space Choc Nova Premium Grade, Space
Strawberry Wrap Premium Grade, Space Grape Impact Premium Grade, Spice Gold

Two synthetic cannabinoids:

Lazy J, Tai High Afghan Kush, Electric Puha Ganja Guru Delta, Kronic
Tropical Explosion, Kronic Purple Haze, Juicy Puff Super Strength
(plus two as yet unidentified).

Three synthetic cannabinoids:

Aroma Wicked 1.5 Strength, Aroma Wicked Strength, Space V2 Herbal Incense

Four synthetic cannabinoids:

Puff The Philosophers Stone, Puff Super Strength, Kronic Pineapple
Express, Marley Extra Strength 1.5, Kronic Skunk, Euphoric Blends Citrus Haze

Five synthetic cannabinoids:

Euphoric Blends White Rhino, Euphoric Blends Big Bang, Euphoric
Blends Bubble Gum, Spice Diamond
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