Police say 'legal high' ingredients lawful

EVAN HARDING
Last updated 05:00 16/11/2010

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ESR testing of a cannabis substitute that Invercargill teenagers have been smoking and getting high on, had revealed its ingredients were legal, a police boss said yesterday.

Invercargill parents last month said their teenagers were getting stoned on a legal high called kronic that was being sold in Invercargill convenience stores.

Southland police area commander, Inspector Barry Taylor expressed concern about kronic, so referred the matter to police national headquarters in Wellington.

Yesterday, Mr Taylor said he had been informed kronic's ingredients were legal.

"Kronic has been tested bythe ESR and all ingredients are legal, therefore there are no legal powers that the police can utilise."

Mr Taylor said the industry involved with kronic had put a voluntary R18 classification on the product, but it was not a legal requirement. However, the sale of the product to under-18s in pre-rolled joints was an offence under the Smoke Free Environment Act, he said.

It is understood the cannabinoids in kronic, which get its users high, are sprayed on to the foliage which is smoked by its users. It produces effects similar to those of THC, a cannabinoid naturally present in cannabis.

There were at least 20 brands of legal highs similar to kronic on the market.

An ESR expert on the issue was unavailable for comment yesterday, but a spokeswoman said the expert would speak to The Southland Times today.

Meanwhile, the findings of a formal review into substances contained in legal highs should be available at the end of this month.

A review of the substances was tabled at the Health Ministry's Expert Advisory Committee on drugs meeting last week.

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- The Southland Times

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