Government seeks views on psychoactive substances regime

by NZ Lawyer21 Feb 2014
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has welcomed the release of a consultation paper on Regulations to the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013.

The paper, prepared by the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority, seeks feedback to help shape the final regulatory powers alongside the Act and ensure robust, future-proof controls are in place to regulate the psychoactive substance market.

“A regulated psychoactive substances market, a key element of the Psychoactive Substances Act, always involved a staged approach and this latest stage of the process brings closer the full implementation of this legislation”, said Dunne.

The Act significantly tightened the access and availability of these products and regulations will further strengthen these controls. Before the Act came into force some 200-300 ‘legal high’ products were sold from an estimated 3,000-4,000 outlets nationwide. There are now only 41 products sold from fewer than 170 outlets.

It is illegal to sell or give approved products to anyone under the age of 18.

The consultation will canvass a range of areas, including information requirements for licence applications, labelling and packaging conditions and sale and advertising restrictions.

“While the existence of these products is unpalatable to many, the fact is they are not going to go away so public safety must be the primary consideration. I encourage all with an interest to contribute constructively to this process,” said Dunne.

“It is my expectation that that when the final regulations are in place, and all local authorities have played their part in implementing Local Approved Product Policies (LAPPs), the lay of the land will be markedly different to the wild west situation that existed prior to July 2013."

Details on how to make a submission can be seen on the Ministry of Health website at http://www.health.govt.nz/psychoactives/haveyoursay where people can also view other information about the Act.

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