Second tilt at ban on legal highs

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 10:50 28/01/2014

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The battle to ban psychoactive substances from areas in Marlborough is still being fought, says Marlborough Drug Arm chairman Roy Ramsey.

The Marlborough youth workers' collective plans to present an amended submission asking for action against the sale of synthetic cannabis to the Marlborough District Council tomorrow.

The council asked for supporting evidence to prove synthetic cannabis use was a problem in Marlborough.

"It's been quite a hard task to get [the submission] to where it is," Mr Ramsey said.

"It's frustrating, but I do understand [the council's] position."

The collective would also present 12 supporting letters from organisations including police, colleges, churches and schools, along with letters from six people who use or had used the drug.

The amended submission bans the sale of legal highs within 500 metres of primary schools, high schools, community colleges, polytechnics and most churches in the region.

The council said the initial submission was unreasonable after it asked to ban the sale within 500 metres of all schools, churches, parks, reserves, playgrounds, cemeteries, skate parks, sports grounds, stadiums, pools, libraries, marae, and rehabilitation and addiction services.

The issue is an agenda item in the next community and finance committee meeting on February 4.

The council's functions under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2012 are limited to creating a policy restricting where legal highs can be sold.

HELP FOR LOCAL PLANS

Associate Health Minister Todd McClay said yesterday the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority would be writing to all local government chief executives offering help to develop a local authority product plan.

The letter would also reinforce the role councils could play through developing the plan. He applauded Napier, the first local authority to implement a local authority product plan. That came into effect last year.

"That Napier's plan has resulted in the declining of an interim licence application shows that these policies do have teeth, which is exactly the reason the Government included the mechanism in the Psychoactive Substances Act," Mr McClay said.

There are 22 plans in various stages of development throughout the country. Anyone with concerns about the operation of legal high retailers were encouraged to approach their council, he said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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