Work starts on legal highs bylaw

AUDREY MALONE
Last updated 05:00 18/03/2014

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Legal highs are high on the agenda at the Timaru District Council.

Council environmental manager Jonathan Cowie said it was beginning to formulate the local bylaws for the psychoactive substances but it was up to the wider community to ensure social costs were kept to a minimum.

The local approved products policy, which applies to psychoactive substances sold locally, will be developed stringently based on location, density, and number of premises allowed to sell the substances.

Mr Cowie said research and talking to local groups had started to ensure a comprehensive draft policy would be put forward by June for public consultation.

Mr Cowie said it was imperative the council placed guidelines for the substances to ensure social costs were kept to a minimum and people realised their own responsibility in using the legal highs.

"Legislation is not the sole answer to the misuse of pyschoactive substances. We will police what we can. If there is a problem in the community, then it is important community groups, police, and friends and family are taking responsibility.

"Just because it is legal doesn't mean it can't cause any harm," he said.

Dizzy Spells owner Megan Devries sells legal highs. She said it was a positive move to restrict the industry surrounding selling of these substances.

"There should be a tight rope on the industry so they are extra careful so those boundaries don't get lost. Some people are buying them as an alternative to cannabis.

"If these were taken off the market, it would open windows for people to do things or sell things they shouldn't be," Ms Devries said.

Karmec Creations also sells legal highs. Director Aaron Wilson-Jones said he was pleased it was going to a public submission process as the industry was there for safer outcomes, despite what he felt was portrayed by the media.

"All the viewpoints need to be heard. It's a big discussion.

"There are two sides to every story. I feel the media hasn't been reporting correctly, and I embrace a good open discussion," Mr Wilson-Jones said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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