Crackdown on 'legal high' cannabis substitutes
The Government is to ban selling "legal highs", which mimic the effects of cannabis, to under 18s.
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said controls are to be tightened around the selling of synthetic cannabinoid substances.
Smoking products such as "Spice", "Kronic", "Aroma" and "Dream" are bought from 'party pill' outlets, online retailers and even some dairies and convenience stores.
Known widely as 'herbal smoking blends' or 'legal highs' they contain vegetable matter treated with synthetic cannbinomimetic substances. When smoked they give psychoactive effects just like those from cannabis.
Dunne said Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) recommended restricting all synthetic substances with cannabinomimetic effects under the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Act 2005.
"I have accepted the committee's advice on this."
The committee said it is "unacceptable" for products containing the substances to be widely available without controls on packaging, marketing and sale, Dunne said. "And I fully agree."
An amendment act, which allows hazardous substances to also be classified as restricted substances must now be passed. This is currently before Parliament awaiting its second reading.
"I have instructed the Ministry of Health to begin the process of putting the necessary controls in place. I expect these changes to come into effect next year," he said.
"In the meantime, I am putting traders in these products on notice that it is irresponsible to market, sell or offer to sell to anyone under the age of 18. "