Council decision time on legal high sales policy

MATT RILKOFF
Last updated 05:00 03/12/2013

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New Plymouth councillors will today decide if they join other districts around the country in developing a policy to control where legal highs are sold in their neighbourhood.

The sale of psychoactive substances was regulated under the government's Psychoactive Substances Act in July.

It restricted the sale of such things as synthetic cannabis and herbal highs to licensed premises.

There are three such premises in the New Plymouth District.

Currently shops selling such substances hold interim licences but full five-year licences will be granted once the government has developed regulations by the end of March 2014.

Councils are able to develop a Local Approved Products Policy (LAPP) to specify locations where such products may or may not be sold, which in itself is not enforceable.

However it is expected that government regulations will require licence holders to fully comply with the relevant LAPP.

The anxiety is if the local policy is not in place before the end of March, when full five-year licences should be granted, council will not be able to control where sellers are located, as the LAPP will not be retroactively applied.

All four community boards have recommended a policy be developed and a number of other districts around the country are investigating doing so.

Prior to the Act, legal highs were sold in a large number of dairies in the district, many of which were targeted by protesters urging people to boycott the shop until it stopped selling the substances.

The council policy committee will make its decision this afternoon.

South Taranaki District is currently investigating the requirements of developing an LAPP but Mike Avery of the Stratford District, which has no licensed legal high sellers, said such a policy was not on the council's "must do list".

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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