Timaru dairies still selling legal highs

ALEXIA JOHNSTON, AL WILLIAMS AND NATASHA THYNE
Last updated 05:00 12/04/2013
Synthetic Cannabis
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ

LEGAL HIGHS: Synthetic cannabis products such as K2 are sold by some dairies in Timaru.

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Would you shop at a dairy you knew was selling legal highs?

Yes, the dairy is not breaking the law.

No, they may be legal, but these chemicals are harmful.

For convenience yes, but if I had another option I wouldn't.

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Some Timaru dairies are still selling synthetic cannabis products despite pleas from mayor Janie Annear to take it off their shelves by the end of March.

Three of 12 dairies approached by The Timaru Herald were still selling the products yesterday.

In December, Mrs Annear travelled the district visiting dairies that sold or were suspected of selling legal highs, such as the synthetic cannabis K2.

She appealed to their moral values and gave them until the end of March to stop or the dairies would be named and shamed.

A concerned mother also spoke out about the products and their dangers last month after her son was taken to hospital, and other examples surfaced of dangerous reactions.

Last week Mrs Annear revisited five dairies that had sold legal highs, and was of the belief only two had stock left; Centennial Park Store on Church St and the Elizabeth St Dairy.

However, visits by The Herald yesterday found that while these two dairies were no longer selling the products, three different dairies were - Wai-iti Rd Foodmarket, On The Spot on the corner of Trafalgar and Evans Sts and Corner Convenience on the corner of Arthur St and Grey Rd.

An undercover reporter asked each shop assistant for synthetic cannabis.

Corner Convenience was the first to oblige, agreeing to sell a packet of K2 black label for $20.

The assistant later said she was only selling to adults and when stock ran out there would not be any more brought in.

She said she sold about one packet a day.

The assistant at Wai-iti Rd Foodmarket still had two types of synthetic drugs for sale - Thai High and Kryptonite.

He said he only had five packets of each remaining and when he ran out he would not be selling any more.

The assistant at On the Spot had K2, both black and green label for sale. He said he had a total of 10 packets left.

"Tomorrow they will be gone because [the] city council has asked us to stop so we will stop. We are happy to."

Some of the dairies that did not have any stock, did not hesitate telling the undercover reporter where they could get the product.

Vipul and Shruti Surti, of Vips Mart, have taken a strong stand against selling the products and have made their message clear using signage on the shop front.

The sign, which reads: 'We choose not to sell synthetic cannabis' has created frustration among some customers, Mrs Surti said.

"We had (a) customer lately who came in and said 'you are lying'. He just banged our door and walked away."

She said they had put up the sign because they were tired of having to explain that they do not sell the product.

Mrs Annear was unavailable last night.

SELLING

On The Spot, corner of Trafalgar and Evans Sts
Corner Convenience, Arthur St
Wai-iti Rd Foodmarket, Wai-iti Rd

NOT SELLING

Elizabeth St Dairy. Elizabeth St
Star Dairy, Church St
Star Dairy Shop and Takeaways, North St
Vips Mart, Evans St
On the Spot, Selwyn St
North Street Dairy, North St
Hassall Street Family Dairy, Hassall St
Caper's Corner Store, corner Hassall St and Otipua Rd
Centennial Park Store, Church St

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- The Timaru Herald

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