K2 stance hurts retailer

By Anna Ferrick, Sam Hurley

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A Hastings dairy owner who refuses to sell synthetic cannabis says his stance is hurting his business.

Lance Mackie, who with his partner runs the Lantern Light Dairy on Grove Rd, said stores that continue to sell the rebranded K2 appear to be making large profits.

"We have never and never will sell synthetic drugs," he said. "Seeing the clientele coming in looking for the product makes you wonder why this or any synthetic drug is legal," Mr Mackie said.

He said one Hastings dairy that was selling K2 was making over $10,000 a week in profits, benefiting from the addiction of those who have grown dependant on legal highs.

"It seems some dairies are reaping huge profits selling this poison - some many thousands a week," he said.

"Our moral stand puts us at a huge disadvantage to those who sell it.

"They can discount other lines for example milk, bread to get more business.

"I still will never sell it."

Those wanting the product often hurl abuse at the owners.

"They get very irritable and sometimes vicious when you say you don't sell it.

"We have a big sign now on our frontage stating we don't sell it."

He said his morals and the fact he knows it harms people were good enough reasons for him not to sell it.

"[We don't sell it] for the same reason we don't sell high energy drinks to primary school children. We cop a lot of flack for that but that's our morals."

New legislation banned two chemicals used in the original product on May 9, making it a criminal offence to possess, sell or supply it.

However a day later the same packaging was back in stock with one measly modification - a small sticker reading: "This product is fully compliant as of 9th of May, 2013".

No ingredients are listed on either the old or new packet, making customers completely unaware of what they are smoking, but some of the more serious acute symptoms medical staff have grown accustomed to treating in users are psychosis and kidney failure.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said samples of the new K2 had been purchased for safety and health testing as soon as they hit the shelves.

Mr Mackie said he has gained a large degree of support and respect from the local community as people have become tired of the behaviour caused by K2.

"Heaps of ladies come and say they only come to this store because we refuse to sell it," he said.

"This might benefit us and the community and force those dairies selling it to stop if enough people boycott their shops."

The manufacturer of K2 last week decided to stop supplying the drug in New Zealand until the new regulations come in.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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