Pot blitz targets dairies

Police are calling on the public to boycott Hamilton dairies selling controversial legal highs.

But one dairy owner is still stocking synthetic cannabis products, claiming they are his "bread and butter" and the Government is to blame for not banning them sooner.

Police yesterday launched Operation Dairy in the city's east, hitting the streets to lecture dairies who refused to stop selling legal highs.

Shopowners agreeing not to stock the products were given a large yellow and red poster to display in shop front windows.

It's a method they hope to extend across the rest of the city from their pilot project of 20 East Hamilton Dairies.

But the operation has not met with total support.

One dairy owner told the Waikato Times that the legal highs were highly profitable and that the government, not shop owners, were to blame for the problem.

Emm-Jay Dairy owner Chandrkant Patel - who doesn't stock the product - said there was definitely demand for it and he turned away between 15 and 20 customers a day asking to buy synthetic cannabis.

The Times visited 12 other dairies yesterday - many whom were still selling synthetic cannabinoids - but none of the owners were willing to talk.

One owner said she had only been selling the products for four months, but police taking part in the operation said they had been selling "for years".

The woman, who did not want to be named, was issued with a notice of advice from the DHB's Population Health Service health protection advisor Nick Young outlining the social and health impacts of the products on the community.

Mr Young's claims were back up by Waikato Hospital emergency department clinical director Dr John Bonning who slammed the selling of synthetic products as "irresponsible". "There are various substances found in them including addictive sedatives that are completely unregulated and can cause cardiac issues, seizures, psychosis and a long list of mental health problems."

Waikato Alcohol and Drug Community Support Trust director Stephen King described the products as "nightmare". "I have seen clients on a previous model of K2 and some of the behaviour is bizarre - a lot of self-talk, but talking out loud, psychotic features," he said.

Best Choice Mini Market on Clyde Rd has already stopped selling the legal highs and were commended for their stance yesterday.

Waikato Times