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News (Media Awareness Project) - New Zealand: Claim Fake Cannabis Ban Won't Work
Title:New Zealand: Claim Fake Cannabis Ban Won't Work
Published On:2011-08-02
Source:New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Fetched On:2011-08-03 06:00:47

Those working in the 'legal highs' industry believe banning certain
products will only lead to the creation of new ones.

Urgent legislation going before Parliament today will allow all 43
current synthetic cannabis products to be classed as "temporary
controlled drugs" and withdrawn from sale.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne will have the power to place
products in the category, which would ban them for 12 months.

During that time, a product would be assessed by a committee -
appointed by Mr Dunne - which would judge whether it was safe to be

Yesterday the Prime Minister John Key suggested that the government
could go further.

He said the long term aim was to introduce legislation which required
makers to prove the drug was safe before it could be sold.

He said other substances such as party pills would be considered as
part of longer term changes, but the immediate concern was about the
43 drugs which will be targeted in today's legislation.

However those working in the industry say the move is dangerous, and
will have the effect of sending users to the black market where there
are no controls.

Hempstore manager Chris Fowlie told Newstalk ZB he believed the ban
encourages the creation of new products, but only one at a time.

"When that one is banned they'll introduce the next one," he

"Rather than, for example, having several varieties of synthetic
cannabis, you might just have one that's out there and sell as much of
that as you can until it's banned and then put out the next one."

Mr Fowlie says the industry's frustrated as they've already spent lots
of money on labelling and marketing, believing they were heading
towards R18 regulation, rather than prohibition.

Meanwhile an Auckland business advocate is praising local business for
its part in having synthetic cannabis banned.

The ban comes a week after the Auckland Chamber of Commerce wrote an
open letter to all MPs.

Chief executive Michael Barnett told Newstalk ZB in just 48 hours, he
gathered a thousand responses - not one in favour of the products.

"Employers in the Auckland region should be pleased that in some way
they've contributed to getting these products off the shelf," he told
Newstalk ZB.

"They can't come off quick enough, we need to stop using our children,
the public as guinea pigs."

The Herald understands people will not face charges if found with a
small amount of a banned synthetic cannabis - which the industry says
will lead to stock-piling.

Massey University senior researcher Chris Wilkins said the banning of
BZP-based party pills showed what the effect of banning synthetic
cannabis would be.

Forty-nine per cent of men aged 20 to 24 had used BZP-based pills in
2006 but since their ban, use of legal substitutes had been minimal.
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