K2 selling to construction workers

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 26/02/2013
K2 synthetic cannabis
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ

HEALTH RISKS: Sergeant Bevan Seal talks to a staff member at a dairy on the corner of Clyde and Ilam roads about the health risks associated with synthetic cannabis products, including K2.

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Christchurch dairy owners will suffer a hit to their business if they continue selling synthetic cannabis to children, police say.

Police yesterday launched Operation Dairy, involving 35 officers visiting dairies and asking the owners to stop selling products - the most prolific of which is K2.

Dairies not selling the products are given a poster to place in the front window.

Police hope the public will look for the posters and support only dairies which are synthetic cannabis free.

The campaign follows similar action by Dunedin police after numerous incidents of young people becoming aggressive, paranoid and even suicidal after taking K2.

Sergeant Bevan Seal, who is leading the Christchurch operation, visited several dairies yesterday and said he was disappointed to find all but one selling K2.

Hagley Night 'n Day manager Lynette Andrell said they chose not to sell it because of the clientele it attracted.

However, that did not stop daily requests for K2.

"We don't like selling energy drinks to kids, let alone synthetic cannabis. We get enough issues being 24 hours," she said.

At a dairy on the corner of Clyde and Ilam roads, the manager said the Auckland supplier told them it was legal, so they sold it, but he would tell his boss about the health risks.

Another Riccarton Rd dairy staff member, who did not wish to be named, said they did not sell "much" K2 and always asked for ID first.

Christchurch Hospital emergency specialist Paul Gee said the side effects of synthetic cannabis included agitation, confusion, paranoia, seizures and violent behaviour that could last days to months.

Last week, Seal said police found a 13-year-old who had taken K2 disoriented and walking in the middle of Papanui Rd.

He had also been told dairies had sold K2 to construction workers, who used it because it would not show up in a urine test.

Seal said many dairy owners were unaware of the health risks, but did not care.

"Young people bike down there for an icecream and drinks, and end up buying K2.

"The dairies with the posters are the ones that care."

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- The Press

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