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Legal Highs Not Legal Soon

Parliament has gone into Urgency to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of synthetic highs from Thursday.

Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee moved the motion to pass the Psychoactive Substances Amendment bill through all stages saying it had been hoped the bill passed last year would remove the “scourge” of synthetic highs from the market. This had not happened, but this amendment bill would do that.

The motion was passed with the Greens and Mana opposed.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said the bill would end all interim product approvals and no products could be sold until they had been proven to be safe. The bill would restrict the use of animal testing by making any information from such testing inadmissible in proving them safe for sale.

Under the bill all licence holders would be required to tell authorities what substances they had and how they would be disposed of.

Ryall said the bill would rule out any compensation to businesses that lost money from the ban. He acknowledged this would happen, but it was in the public interest to implement the ban.

The change to last year’s legislation was necessary because of increased adverse effects from products which had not yet been tested and Parliament had envisaged the testing regime would be in place.

There would be heavy penalties for making, selling and possessing synthetic highs from Thursday, Ryall said.

Iain Lees-Galloway said he supported the bill and though he had supported last year’s legislation, he said the process had been rushed and the Government had made mistakes.

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