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News (Media Awareness Project) - New Zealand: Ban Leaves Drug Sellers With Stock Worth Millions
Title:New Zealand: Ban Leaves Drug Sellers With Stock Worth Millions
Published On:2011-08-03
Source:New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Fetched On:2011-08-05 06:03:29

Staff have been laid off by the company behind Kronic, and other
manufacturers will be left with millions of dollars worth of stock
when the drugs are banned from sale on Friday next week.

The Herald understands around 30 staff at Lightyears Ahead, the North
Shore company behind Kronic, have been laid off since the ban was
announced on Monday.

Lightyears Ahead director Matthew Wielenga would not confirm any
lay-offs, but said the ban was a reversal after the Government had
consistently indicated it would regulate the industry.

"Obviously it's election year and votes are more important than public
safety ... the actions are more in line with an American-style war on
drugs approach, which is a failed approach."

Matt Bowden, who imports the chemicals used in Kronic, would not
comment on any lay-offs at Lightyears Ahead, but said such news would
not surprise him.

"There are perhaps 800 to 900 businesses impacted by [the ban],and the
number of consumers whoare being criminalised is by nomeans a marginal

Others in the industry have expressed similar anger at the surprise
nature of the ban.

Chris Fowlie, the co-owner of the Hemp Store in central Auckland, said
he would be left with $80,000 worth of stock to offload in two weeks.

Demand had already picked up since the ban was announced on Monday,
and he had discounted the price of products, but he said he would
still be left with a "mountain" of stock.

"We're going to have a big party and just smoke all of it. Because
handing it in to police - that would just be a kick in the teeth."

Zaid Musa of Enjoi Products, one of the largest synthetic cannabis
manufacturers in New Zealand, said he would be left with millions of
dollars worth of stock.

Mr Musa said that when BZP-based party pills were banned, the industry
was given six weeks before products could no longer be sold.

He has written to Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne and Labour
leader Phil Goff requesting a changeover period of four weeks.

Mr Musa has instructed stockists to discount products, and said prices
on orders made through his website had been reduced by up to 75 per

He expected to have around 700kg of product left over, which would be
shipped to overseas markets.

Legislation introduced in Parliament this week will allow Mr Dunne to
class products as "temporary controlled drugs" and withdraw them from
sale for 12 months.

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

Mr Dunne has said the bans are a stop-gap measure while the Government
considers a Law Commission recommendation to require the industry to
prove its products are safe.

Both Mr Musa and Mr Fowlie said that although products could be
quickly banned, they could still be on the market for a significant
amount of time before being detected and pulled.

"If the manufacturer labels it as plant food and fish feed, and only
sells it in herbal high-type stores, you're not going to get any
straight people going in there and complaining about it.

"Next Saturday there will just be new products out there. I don't
think we'll have single day without them being on sale."

* Synthetic cannabis products will be banned from sale next Friday.
* They will be classed "temporary controlled drugs".
* All products will be assessed to decide whether they are safe for sale.
* Manufacturers are expected to be left with millions of dollars worth of stock.
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