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Psychoactive substances grace period over

Hon Anne Tolley
Minister of Police

Hon Maurice Williamson
Minister of Customs

Hon Todd McClay
Associate Minister of Health
18 August 2013      

Media Statement

Psychoactive substances grace period over
The Government has sounded a clear warning to distributors and retailers who deliberately, or otherwise, contravene recently enacted psychoactive substance laws.
The 28 day period for submitting licence applications under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 ended this week, with no products or retailers permitted in the market unless they have been granted an interim licence by the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority.
Police Minister Anne Tolley, Customs Minister Maurice Williamson and Associate Health Minister Todd McClay say now the first transitional stage of the Act has ended, there will be little leniency shown to those operating outside of the law.
“We have seen numerous examples of unscrupulous retailers peddling products that have had significant adverse effects on those taking them, in many cases children,” Mr McClay says in welcoming the cross-Government approach to ensuring the new regulatory regime is enforced.
“The Psychoactive Substances Act puts in place clear rules around the distribution and sale of these products.  Flouting these rules will simply not be tolerated.  From day one the Act has put in place restrictions on retailers and removed permanently a very large part of the ’legal-highs’ market, such as dairies and similar stores,” Mr McClay says.
Police Minister Anne Tolley says evidence of this cross-Government approach has already been seen with Police confiscating more than 2000 packets of synthetic cannabis from a Hamilton dairy, following a tipoff from the public.
“These products would have a retail value in excess of $40,000 and were being sold from premises that children had ready access to.  The Act specifically excludes sales from dairies and to those under 18 years,” Mrs Tolley says.
“The message needs to get through that Police are determined to enforce this law.”
Illegal imports will be stopped at the border by Customs, which has the technology and resources to identify such products.
“The Act has closed the door on a previously unregulated avenue for potentially harmful substances to be imported into New Zealand.   An import licence is now required for anyone wishing to bring in these products or substances covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act.  No licence, no shipment – it’s that simple,” Mr Williamson says.

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