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Authority acts over breaches of psychoactive substances law


Media statement  September 29, 2013

Authority acts over breaches of new psychoactive substances law

A number of retailers granted psychoactive substances retail licences can no longer trade, after breaching the requirements of the new law.

The Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority has suspended licences in Hawera and Dunedin after applicants in both cases  appear to be using premises that do not comply with the requirements of the Psychoactive Substances Act.  

A suspended licence means that the licence holder is not able to continue to sell psychoactive substances while the Authority is now working through the statutory process to investigate whether these retail licences should be revoked.

In addition one application for an interim retail licence in Dunedin has been refused.

The manager of the Authority, Dr Donald Hannah says all applicants for interim retail licences make statutory declarations that they will comply with the requirements of the Act.

"As well,  applicants were specifically advised they cannot sell food and drink at premises, and were asked if they wished to proceed with their application. In both suspensions, these applicants appear to have breached that undertaking."

"This is a warning to all those with interim retail licences that the requirements of the Act need to be strictly adhered to."

Dr Hannah says Police and public health units will continue to work together to monitor compliance and will always welcome information from the public. In another recent case, information provided by concerned members of the public anonymously through Crimestoppers, led to the prosecution of a Waikato business for breaching the Act.

“We encourage any members of the public, who have any concerns to contact the Police, and the Ministry of Health - anonymous information can also be provided by calling the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Dr Hannah says the Act has removed psychoactive substances from sale in dairies and conveniences stores as part of the Act's purpose of reducing harm, and the remaining retailers are now able to be monitored, which was not previously feasible.  

The Authority estimates that following implementation of the transitional scheme which prohibited sale of psychoactive products from dairies, the total number of retail outlets selling psychoactive substances has substantially decreased.

From around an estimated  3 to 4 thousand psychoactive substance retailers prior to the Act, around 110 retail licences have been issued to date.

All the licences granted are interim and will need to be reapplied for once full regulations under the Act come into force over the coming months.

A list of licences, including those suspended or surrendered, can be seen here:

http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/regulation-health-and-disability-system/psychoactive-substances/interim-licences

Further information about the Psychoactive Substances Act can be seen here:

http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/regulation-health-and-disability-system/psychoactive-substances

ENDS

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