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Legal high back on the market

JAY BOREHAM
Last updated 09:48 26/07/2013

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The first legal high is back on the market just one week after the Psychoactive Substances Act was passed.

Partypillhighs.com, based in Silverdale, Auckland, is offering the new synthetic cannabis Tai High Purple Passion.

Its website describes the $20 product as having a similar effect to K2 ''with a smooth chocolate flavour''.
''Effects last around one hour, hits very hard so use a little at first. STRONG LEGAL WEED,'' it says.

Papakura-based websites Thrillz n Pillz and Puffing Stuff and New Plymouth's Mind Fuel says they expect to have products available in the next few days, Manurewa Local Board member Toa Greening says.

Products ''going live'' so soon after the act came into force on July 17 make the process  a waste of time, Mr Greening says.

It was supposed to protect communities from harm by making producers prove their products were safe, he says.

''That was the big thing that they were going on about.''

The expensive process of analysing and testing the substances was also expected to be a deterrent.

But the act allows suppliers to apply for interim approval to sell their products as long as they have entered them into a testing regime to prove they pose little threat to consumers.

The fact that they are already selling the products without proving their safety has undermined the point of the act, Mr Greening says.

He can't understand why New Zealand didn't follow the same path as Ireland when it completely banned legal highs in 2010.

''If they had just done a little bit of research, that popped up quite quickly. And if you dig around you see that it has reversed all the problems they were having.''

People in Manurewa who have been plagued by the effects of a legal high store in their town centre are appalled and upset the products will be available again so soon, Mr Greening says.

They expected the new law to give local authorities the power to remove the store because of its proximity to schools and the heart of the community. But interim licensing has torpedoed their hopes, Mr Greening says.

''Based upon what we have seen, I doubt they [the store] will go. They will probably have the products on the shelves sooner rather than later.''

Medical safety authority Medsafe group manager Dr Stewart Jessamine told Fairfax Media on Tuesday the interim approval process had been made very clear throughout the development of the legislation.

''[It] will allow sales while products undergo testing.''

But he predicted products removed from the market would not be re-entering the market for some weeks.

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- Manukau Courier

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