Profitable K2 has some dairy owners hooked
A 200 per cent profit margin is proving too enticing for some Christchurch dairies to stop selling synthetic cannabis.
Police recently launched Operation Dairy, encouraging diary owners to stop selling the drug after several K2-related violence incidents.
Just yesterday, police were called to assist after a 17-year-old, who admitted having smoked K2, was slashing his arms with scissors. He later attacked his father, who had trouble restraining him.
On Tuesday, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne announced K2 would be off shelves by May 9 after tests revealed it contained two "dangerous" substances. These substances are now among 35 banned in legal highs. Any product with these two substances would be pulled off shelves.
Dunne said the Psychoactive Substances Bill, going through Parliament, would put the onus on manufacturers, requiring new products to be tested in a similar way to new medicines, which could cost about $2 million for each one.
The ban on K2 has been welcomed by police.
Sergeant Bevan Seal, who has been running Operation Dairy, said recent tests found K2 was 28 times stronger than marijuana.
Seal said Operation Dairy had received "overwhelming" support from the public, and some diaries had decided to no longer sell the products, but for others the profit was "just too great".
"It all comes down to profit for some of them."
He said dairies made about a 200 per cent markup on the products.
A packet retails for about $20.
The police campaign also appealed for the community to support dairies displaying signs saying, "We choose not to sell synthetic cannabis".
Among those dairies refusing to sell legal highs is the Harewood Superette.
Owner Dongni Liu said she did not want to sell the products because they were "not good".
Her actions were praised by Seal and Dunne.
Seal commented: "She cares more about the people than the profit."