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Consultation opens on legal-highs retail policy

Consultation opens on legal-highs retail policy

Christchurch City Council’s consultation on its draft Psychoactive Products Retail Locations policy is now open.

The public have the opportunity to give feedback until 4 August, 2014, on the draft policy, which seeks to define where retailers can sell psychoactive products such as “party pills” and “herbal highs.”

The draft policy proposes to address location and density of licensed premises selling psychoactive products, and that approved retail premises:

- Are permitted only within the Central City (Central City Core and Central City Mixed Use Zones, as defined by the Christchurch City District Plan)
- Are not permitted within 50 metres of each other
- Are not permitted within 100 metres of a “sensitive site” — such as playgrounds, early childhood centres, schools, tertiary institutions and specialist drug and alcohol treatment and support services — at the time the application for a full licence is made.

Strategy and Planning Committee Chair Jamie Gough says that while a Government ban on the sale of legal highs is in place for now, the Council needs to plan ahead and prepare for when it is lifted.

“The Government’s recent Psychoactive Substances Amendment Act is a temporary ban, meaning ‘party pills’ and ‘herbal highs’ could be available in shops again within two years,” he says.

“If we wait or do nothing, the risk is that retailers of these products will be licensed again in the future, with no local policy in place to guide where they may locate their businesses in Christchurch.

“Because of this, it’s important that the Council, and the community, is forward-thinking on the issue.

“The consultation is an opportunity for retailers, users, health providers and the community as a whole to have their say on the draft policy and influence the decision-making process,” adds Councillor Gough.

The Ministry of Health is currently developing regulations covering psychoactive product approvals, which are expected to take effect in the next few months. Retail regulations are expected to be in place later by mid-2015.

It is expected that the Council’s policy will be formally adopted later this year.

The Council’s full proposal document, including a copy of the draft policy and information about how to make a submission, is available via the “Have Your Say” website at www.ccc.govt.nz/HaveYourSay

- ends

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