Legal highs being on-sold

EMMA BAILEY
Last updated 05:00 07/03/2014

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A Timaru retailer selling legal highs has trespassed two customers suspected of on-selling the synthetic drugs.

Concerns were raised in yesterday's Safer Communities Committee agenda.

"The community police continue to maintain a strong presence in Stafford St where legal highs are sold. Retailers have voiced concerns to police regarding the tone being lowered with users gathering for the 9am opening."

Mid-South Canterbury area commander Dave Gaskin was at the meeting and said two buyers had been trespassed from Karmec Creations for bulk-buying and selling on to underage buyers. The age restriction for purchasing legal highs is 18.

"People have been turning up at 9am to buy. Two have been trespassed to try and deal with on-sellers. Older people are buying for younger people.

"Neighbours [to the shop] are worrying they are lowering the tone but they are legal so it is an issue that will not go away."

It was only a handful of people involved, Mr Gaskin said.

At the same meeting Greypower representative Graeme Wood said he had heard reports of people bulk-buying the legal highs during shop hours then selling them during the weekend in the Royal Arcade.

Before the Psychoactive Substances Act came into force last July, former Timaru Mayor Janie Annear and concerned residents took a stand and called on the community to boycott dairies selling legal highs. Dairies were named and shamed until they no longer sold the synthetic cannabis products.

The act brought in a minimum purchase age of 18 and restrictions on outlets. It prohibits the sale of approved psychoactive substances from certain types of premises, including dairies, convenience stores, grocery stores, supermarkets, service stations, premises where alcohol is sold or supplied, temporary structures such as tents and marquees, and vehicles.

Since the act took effect, only two Timaru retailers have sought licences to sell the legal highs, Dizzy Spells and Karmec Creations. The Timaru District Council is developing a bylaw to restrict where legal highs are sold.

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- The Timaru Herald

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