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Legal Highs Industry: Synthetic Cannabis More Dangerous


Wednesday 22 May, 2013



The ‘legal highs’ industry has admitted to TV3’s The Vote that their products are more dangerous than ordinary cannabis – and advised: “If you want to get rid of synthetic cannabis, the best way is to decriminalise natural cannabis.”

The comments were made by industry representative Grant A Hall, the General Manager of The Star Trust, and came during a debate on the moot ‘Let’s decriminalise soft drugs’ filmed for the monthly current affairs programme, which screens tonight at 8.30pm on TV3.

Hall was asked by referee Linda Clark: “Do you accept that natural, 100 percent cannabis is a safer product than the stuff you’re peddling?”

He replied: “Yes I do.”

Hall went on to say: “Well, look the argument tonight’s about decriminalisation but I’ll tell you this. If you want to get rid of synthetic cannabis, the best way is to decriminalise natural cannabis (audience applause). Listen, it’s a very good question. How big are the synthetic cannabis problems they have in California? None. What about Colorado? None. What about Washington? None. Do you know why? Because they decriminalised.”

New Zealanders will be invited to vote FOR or AGAINST the topic during tonight’s broadcast, and the results will be announced LIVE at the end of the programme.

Viewers can vote for free at www.TheVote.co.nz, via Twitter @TheVoteNZ and Facebook at The Vote NZ. Viewers can also text their vote by texting ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to 3920 at a cost of 20 cents per text.

The Vote is produced by TV3’s News and Current Affairs division with funding from NZ On Air, and screens once every four weeks in the same timeslot as 3rd Degree.

- ends -

3rd Degree presents ‘The Vote’.
Wednesday 22 May, 8.30pm on TV3.

Website: www.TheVote.co.nz
Twitter: twitter.com/TheVoteNZ
Facebook: facebook.com/TheVoteNZ

FOR – Led by Guyon Espiner
Ross Bell is Executive Director of the New Zealand Drug Foundation, a board member of the International Drug Policy Consortium and has previously worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Grant A Hall is the General Manager of The Star Trust, which represents the 'legal highs' industry in New Zealand and funds research into psychoactives as medicine. He has been a passionate advocate for drug policy reform for many years and is also on the Executive Committee of the NZ Juice and Beverage Association.
Dr Jeremy McMinn is a Consultant Psychiatrist Addiction Specialist and a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Alcohol & Drug Disorders for the University of Otago (in Wellington). He is New Zealand Branch Chair of the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine and Co-Chair of the National Association of Opioid Treatment Providers.

AGAINSTLed by Duncan Garner
Janie Annear is Mayor of Timaru and a successful company director and businesswoman. With the support of her community, she has been actively involved in trying to limit the sale of legal highs in the Timaru District calling dairy owners selling synthetic cannabis, calling them “drug dealers of the community.”
Mike Sabin is the MP for Northland, founder of MethCon Group, and one of the country’s foremost authorities on matters related to methamphetamine and drug policy. A former police detective, with a specialist focus on drug enforcement, Mike is one of two representatives for Oceania on the World Federation Against Drugs.
Fa'amatuainu Wayne Poutoa is a Porirua City Councillor and the Founder/Manager of the Streets Ahead 237 Trust, an organisation that works with youth at risk and their families. A former Mongrel Mob member, Wayne’s community work has been recognised by numerous awards, including the Vodafone World of Difference Award and the Kiwibank Local Heroes Medal.

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