Legal highs could make comeback onto NZ shelves

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1 NEWS

Local New Zealand councils are feeling the pressure to act as licenses to sell legal highs become available in the coming months.

There’s concern that licenses to sell the banned substances will soon be up for grabs again.
Source: 1 NEWS

The products were stripped from the shelves last year but even with a change in law selling legal highs is still possible.

It now falls to local councils to decide where products could be sold and to try and restrict sales in their communities.

"All we are legally allowed and obliged to do is pinpoint the retail spots where these products can be sold," says Linda Cooper from the Auckland Council.

"We can't ban it, the legislation doesn't allow us to do that."

In Auckland its proposed large areas won't be able to sell legal highs including schools, hospitals and more deprived areas.

The government insists a full ban was not the answer.

"Banning something doesn't mean it doesn't happen," Metsafe Group manager Dr Stewart Jessamine.

"This legislation says that if you wish to sell them there are certain rules you have to comply with."

The strict rules include proving the product is not addictive, doesn't have serious side effects and made to the right quality.

It could be a year or more before any legal high gets tested and approved for sale in New Zealand, but from mid-this year, shop owners can apply for a licence.

Julie King who campaigned to see legal highs banned says they aren't welcomed backed into the community.

"What's our future going to be if these come back? What's the future for our young ones." she says.

"I don't want it to come back I hope it never comes back and I'll always fight against that."

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