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Legal highs hearing comes to an end

Legal highs hearing comes to an end

Waikato District Council’s proposed psychoactive substances policy hearing has closed with the Policy and Regulatory Committee recommending a policy for Council adoption.

Yesterday it agreed a revised Psychoactive Substances Policy (Local Approved Policy) following several hearings and amendments over the past two months.

Following the hearing on 3 June, amended definitions of sensitive sites and setback distances between sensitive sites, potential retail locations and distances between retailers were included as a result of feedback from submitters.

Under the revised policy retail premises, from which approved products may be sold, are not permitted within 100 metres of a sensitive site or within 500 metres of another similar retail premise.

These distances are consistent with neighbouring Hamilton City and Waipa District councils.

Waikato District Council General Manager Customer Support, Sue Duignan, said as a result of these changes the policy allows for just one potential retailer of legal highs in the entire Waikato district in the business zone on the main street of Huntly.

Ms Duignan said it was important to remember that under the Psychoactive Substances Act, Council does not issue or enforce licenses and does not have the power to ban the sale of legal highs. Council can only put a policy in place to control where the products can be sold.

“Without this policy, we leave it wide open for outlets to be established throughout the district and we would have no control over that. Both Council staff and the committee have put in a great deal of thought and effort throughout this process and we believe the policy is as conservative as it possibly can be.”

The policy will be presented at the full Council meeting in August for adoption.


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