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Legal High Bill Receives Wide Support

A bill cracking down on legal highs received wide support in Parliament though a shortened select committee process was criticised.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said the law had been unable to keep up with a flood of drugs that were legal but of questionable status.

A recent change which allowed chemicals to be banned on the minister’s notification had resulted in more than 30 being classified so far, but this had led to a ``cat and mouse’’ game with those who sought to repackage and remix chemicals for sale.

The Psychoactive Substances Bill would make all psychoactive substances illegal unless those selling them could prove them to be only of low risk to the user. They would be required to undergo a similar process to medicines, which he said would be expensive and shut out ``fly by night operators’’.

Food, drugs and other substances covered by other legislation would not be included.

The bill completed its first reading on a voice vote and was sent to the health select committee with a report back date of June 14.

Dunne said the Government needed to pass the bill by August so current bans did not expire.

There was some criticism of the shortened period for select committee consideration especially since the bill had been available for first debate reading for some time.

MPs began the third reading of the Child Support Amendment Bill.

**
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