Burglar targeted synthetic cannabis

A 17-year-old who stole 47 packets of synthetic cannabis from a store in Napier appeared in court yesterday and pleaded guilty to burglary.

According to a police summary of facts Kahn Hohepa Goulton also took three swords, two hookah pipes and 17 smaller brass pipes from King of Swords on Hastings St on the night of February 18.

Judge Tony Adeane said it was his third conviction for burglary.

Police are seeking reparation of $1974, which Goulton's lawyer Scott Jefferson said there was no dispute with.

The summary of facts said Goulton drove a car to the King of Swords store around 1.30pm on the night of Monday February 18 where he spoke to unknown persons outside the car before smashing a glass pane to gain entry to the store.

The summary said none of the property had been recovered.

In a statement from Goulton he said he was only driving the car and that "his bro" had carried out the burglary.

Mr Jefferson said the fact that no one else had been identified as being part of the burglary meant his client would wear the blame in full.

He said Goulton was a young man who had been "foolish" in recent times.

Judge Adeane remanded Goulton on restrictive bail to reappear on July 30 for sentencing.

At the time of the burglary Detective Sergeant Heath Jones said up to 50 packs of K2 that sell for about $20 each were stolen.

"That's what they were targeting," he said. "They went into a building full of ornamental swords and other items, and went straight to what they were after.

"I've never come across it, but I've come across people absolutely wasted on it.

King of Swords declined to comment when contacted.

New legislation banned two chemicals used in the original K2 product on May 9, making it a criminal offence to possess, sell or supply it.

A day later the same packaging was back in stock with 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 associated with 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 Dunne has also said he will push the Psychoactive Substances Bill through Parliament amid increasing public concern surrounding synthetic cannabis. He said he hopes to get the legislation passed in July.

The Psychoactive Substances Bill will force manufacturers to prove their products are safe before they are allowed to be sold.

A new Ministry of Health authority will be set up to determine whether products are considered "low-risk" or not, and are therefore safe to be sold.

Asked how officials would define a "low-risk" substance, Mr Dunne said: "These standards will be worked out by health experts and clinicians - not politicians - and that is the way it should be.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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