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Residents urged to have their say on the sale of legal highs

10 February 2014

Waikato district Mayor urges residents to have their say on the sale of legal highs

People have until next Monday 17 February to have their say on where psychoactive substances should be sold in the Waikato district.

The consultation is part of Waikato District Council’s proposed psychoactive substances policy, which is a result of the Council wanting to restrict the sale of legal highs in the district.

Waikato district Mayor Allan Sanson said Council is completely against the sale of these substances but as the government has not created a law against them, having a strong policy in place is the only tool available.

“The Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 (the Act), passed by Government, allows for community input into where retailers of legal highs may be located. What we are talking about here are addictive, mind-altering substances that can and do have fatal results, so Council is seeking your input into Waikato district’s response to this Act.”

The decision about whether a business can or cannot sell them is made by the independent Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority.

Mayor Sanson encouraged people to put forward their submissions, saying the opinion of residents would be crucial in finalising the policy.

“We owe it to our community to be united in our approach, so please get your views and submissions to us.”

As of Monday 10 February, 24 submissions had been received, 13 of which came from Te Kauwhata, seven from Raglan, two from Ngaruawahia and one from both Huntly and Tuakau.

The Council’s proposed policy aims to restrict the location of retail stores selling legal highs to commercial zones in Ngaruawahia, Huntly, Raglan, Te Kauwhata and Tuakau and kept out of residential areas.

The retailers would not be allowed within 50 metres of ‘sensitive sites’, eg places predominantly frequented by families and/or people under 18 years old, and can’t be within 100 metres of another retailer selling the substances.

Government legislation effective from last July stipulates that legal highs cannot be sold from dairies, supermarkets, service stations or liquor outlets, and cannot be sold to anyone under 18. Manufacturers and retailers require licences and are required to list the ingredients.

Submissions on the proposed policy can be made until noon on Monday 17 February, after which they will be formally considered at a Council meeting. Hearings are anticipated to be held in late February 2014.

A copy of the proposed policy can be viewed at all our offices and libraries, on our website: www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/Have-your-say/Public-consultation/Proposed-Psychoactive-Substances.aspx or by calling us on 0800 492 452, along with submission forms.

ENDS

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