Three Invercargill stores have been caught selling the herbal high K2 to minors.
Constable Glenn Knipe, of south Invercargill, said yesterday police and Public Health South ran the controlled purchase operation last Wednesday.
Three of six city premises known to sell K2 and other herbal smoking products, failed the operation, selling K2 to a 16-year-old without asking for evidence of their age or for any identification, Mr Knipe said.
One of the premises that failed the operation was a dairy, while the other two were retail stores, he said.
Two of the three retailers that failed the sting had also sold herbal high products to under-aged buyers during a previous operation, he said.
Public Health South smokefree enforcement staff members and an Invercargill police officer assisted in the operation. Police decided to work with Public Health South to run the operation after receiving several complaints from members of the public about the impacts of K2, Mr Knipe said.
Two weeks before the operation, all of the premises were visited by Public Health South and had been advised of the process for identifying customers who were underage, he said. Police were increasingly seeing the negative impact the herbal high product had on people who had smoked it, and had also recently dealt with a drugged driver who had allegedly been smoking K2, he said.
As K2 caused some people to behave more erratically or aggressively, people who smoked it were more likely to become either victims of crime, or offenders, he said.
Invercargill area tactical response manager Inspector Olaf Jensen said yesterday the ongoing issue of synthetic cannabis use, and its sale to minors, was a "real concern".
Police had responded to several incidents in the city relating to the use of K2, where they had been called because of the behaviour of those under its influence, he said.
Public Health South team leader Anne McSoriley said the law was clear that retailers of products such as K2 had a duty to ensure the person making the purchase was 18 years or older.
"Of the six premises visited by the police and public health, three of them sold their products to the underage person.
"This is a disappointing result as in previous weeks our staff had visited all these premises prior to this to remind them of the importance of always asking for identification when young people tried to purchase these products," she said.
Public Health South would notify the Ministry of Health about the underage sales, and the Ministry would determine what further action would be taken, she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Your club information portal, post or view your sports fixtures, results and general information.
Check out what's on in your community or post an upcoming event.
Subscribe to a digital replica of The Southland Times.
Southland Times subscriber news and information.
Click here for information about advertising with The Southland Times.
Buy copies of photos featured in The Southland Times.