Paradise trade irks MP
The owner of a newly opened store selling legal highs says he is a non-smoker, non-drinker and vegetarian, but he is also a businessman.
The new R18 store, called The Paradise, opened last week in Broadway Ave, Palmerston North.
Complaints about the store's proximity to UCOL prompted Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway to start an online petition to ask the Palmerston North City Council to create a policy on legal highs, including that they be prohibited from being put on sale near education providers, after a number of complaints from the community.
Owner Steve Kumar said the store would primarily sell "herbal tobacco" and associated implements, as well as legal highs.
He used to sell the products from a dairy in Greymouth but stopped of his own accord before a law change banning this, he said.
"It didn't feel good," he said.
"I advise people not to smoke, it's not a good thing."
But, he said, he was also a businessman and there was demand for the product.
When asked whether he was concerned about his proximity to UCOL, he said the store was R18 and anyone coming in younger than that would be asked for identification and asked to leave.
His opening hours would extend from 9am to 7pm, but no later.
He was still in the process of setting up the store and was waiting to see whether his application for a licence to sell legal highs under the new Psychoactive Substances Act would be granted.
Lees-Galloway started the petition on Friday and it has so far garnered about 300 signatures.
The petition asks people to sign a request to the Palmerston North City Council to adopt a policy regarding the sale of approved legal highs in consultation with the community.
Both he and others had been surprised that the store could open during the 28-day interim licence period, which allowed only those who met the new criteria and were selling the products before the new law to continue to sell them, he said.
However, he had been told by police that Kumar was from out of town and had been selling the products elsewhere before opening the Palmerston North shop.
It was the person, rather than the store, that was licensed, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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