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Tairawhiti’s leaders discourage sale of synthetic cannabis

MEDIA STATEMENT        4 September 2013

Tairawhiti’s leaders discourage sale of synthetic cannabis

Three of Tairawhiti’s largest organisations have come together to talk about options for discouraging the sale and use of synthetic cannabis in the district.

Representatives from Gisborne District Council, Police and Tairawhiti District Health met on Tuesday to talk about “education, prevention and enforcement strategies”.

Recent legislation has prohibited synthetic cannabis and other psychoactive substances products from being sold in shops such as dairies, petrol stations and liquor stores.  They can only be sold from specialist stores that have obtained a licence from the Ministry of Health, and only to persons over the age of 18 years.

Police area commander Inspector Sam Aberahama said he accepted that substances like synthetic cannabis could be sold legally. 

“What we must now do is ensure that they are sold according to the licences they are issued under, and that we are working in a collaborative manner with our agency partners on a plan around education, prevention and enforcement strategies.”

Tairawhiti District Health chief executive Jim Green said the cooperative group planned to meet with local MPs to understand how the law that legalises the sale of these products came about, and what we can do further to control them.

“Mental health services across the district were dealing with people experiencing harm from the effect of using these substances. The damage these products are doing to our people in Tairawhiti is real.”

Gisborne District Council chief executive Judy Campbell agreed. 

“Our community does not need these products. Council cannot ban shops selling them, but we will work with the Police and Tairawhiti District Health as closely as possible to manage the community concern that is already evident.”

The cooperative group plans a series of educational leaflets to support workplaces, schools, families and individuals who are dealing with synthetic cannabis addiction.  Community workshops for the public are also planned.

Tairawhiti District Health board chair David Scott said he applauded the action of the three organisation’s leaders.

“Something must be done to limit harm to the people of Tairawhiti, especially our young people. I want our city to be a place where you cannot buy these products at all.”

Mr Scott also said he was pleased to hear tobacconist shop owner, Benson Lu, stating publicly that he would no longer sell synthetic cannabis products from his new shop in Grey Street.


© Scoop Media

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