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Council want to restrict where legal highs can be sold

Council want to restrict where legal highs can be sold


Auckland Councillors are proposing to prevent the sale of psychoactive substances near schools, treatment centres and in areas of high deprivation as part of a draft Auckland Council policy.

The Regional Strategy and Policy Committee received an update on the development of the council’s draft Local Approved Products Policy (LAPP) - which will set out where retail outlets selling these substances, may be allowed to operate in Auckland.

The committee has agreed that the preferred option is to specify areas where approved psychoactive substances (commonly referred to as legal highs) will not be able to be sold, as follows:

• neighbourhood centres as defined by the Auckland Unitary Plan
• within 300 metres of a high school and 100m of a primary school
• within 300 metres of a mental health or addiction treatment centre
• within 500m of an existing psychoactive substance retail licence
• local areas included in the top 30 per cent of the most deprived communities in New Zealand, according to the recently released Ministry of Health deprivation index.

“This preferred option is the result of talking with local boards and external stakeholders,” says Regional Strategy and Policy Committee Chair Councillor George Wood.

“We will continue to work with these groups before settling on a final proposal to include in the draft policy that goes out for public feedback later this year.

“However I think it is heading down the right track to addressing some our communities’ concerns and giving council a bit more control over where these substances can be sold.”

In May the Government passed the Psychoactive Substances Amendment Act 2014 which effectively stopped the sale of products until they were tested and proven low risk, meaning retailers had nothing to sell.

Cr Wood says while the move has given communities a bit of a reprieve, it is only until the new testing and licensing regulations for psychoactive substances are developed and approved.

“That is why we have to make sure we are ready and have our policy in place before those new regulations come in.”

Auckland Council’s draft LAPP is expected to be approved by the council in October, be out for public consultation in November this year and adopted in March 2015.

A copy of the report presented to the committee is available on council’s website

ends

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