Hamilton legal high ban continues

Hamilton legal high retailers continue to be banned from selling psychoactive substances - for now.

The Ministry of Health's Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority yesterday said the Hamilton City Council's recently introduced bylaw, to control the sale of psychoactive substances, had the power to suspend six retailers from trading in psychoactive substances.

The authority said it therefore it did not need to actually extend the 21 day suspension imposed on six Hamilton retailers on March 11 and which was set to expire yesterday. 

Instead they reconfirmed those retailers were still not permitted to trade in psychoactive substances and enforcement officers would make regular checks on them.

They said this suspension would remain in place until two appeals before the Ministry around selling of psychoactive substances in Hamilton were heard.

That was unless the first appeal, which has been laid against its decision to suspend licences in the first place, granted temporary relief on the suspensions so that retailers could reopen for business while the main appeals were being processed through the Appeals Committee.

The main appeal involves a judicial review of proceedings which have been filed seeking a review of the Hamilton City Council's LAPP (locally approved product policy).Hamilton City Council spokesperson Stephanie Slattery said that review was likely to be heard in mid-May or June.

Anti-legal high activist Aaron Woolley, of Stand Up Against Legal Highs Hamilton, was pleased to hear the suspensions were to continue.

''It's great because there has been a lot of concern about what's happening once this 21-day thing was up. We've been lobbying really hard and discussing it with councillors and MPs.''

Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe said the suspension extension was a big win for the city.He believed the council had been exhaustive in its adopting of the LAPP, and was hopeful it would be successful with its court proceedings.

Mr Macindoe suggested it unlikely psychoactive substances would be for sale before the end of the year.