Police welcome today's ban of two chemicals found in K2, allowing them to be vigilant in enforcing the law to reduce the product's harmful effects on the community.
Deputy Commissioner Mike Bush said Police welcome the strong stance taken by Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne and Government, which will strengthen the ability of Police and other agencies concerned about the harm caused by synthetic cannabinoids.
"There is significant community concern over the impact the current products on the market are having throughout the country, particularly on vulnerable young people, and this ban is a positive step," he said.
"Aside from the potentially serious health effects such as increased heart-rate and seizures, Police are finding K2 and similar substances are becoming an increasingly concerning factor in a number of crimes, including violent offending. This is being driven by people either committing crime to get their hands on these drugs, or committing crimes while on them."
He said seven recent aggravated robberies had been committed by offenders demanding synthetic cannabis products, with the weapons used ranging from knives to firearms.
Synthetic cannabis is seen as the motivating factor in the case of a 17-year-old Dunedin youth, who recently appeared in court on representative charges following a crime spree that involved breaking into 27 different vehicles in early 2012. Recently, two North Island children, aged 9 and 10, were admitted to hospital after being found vomiting and unresponsive. Police inquiries established they appeared to have been given K2 by a group of older boys.
The two new banned substances in K2 increase the number of prohibited chemicals to 35.