Psychoactive substance manufacturers are about to feel their wallets get lighter thanks to a new code of practice which came into force yesterday.
Associate Minister of Health Todd McClay said the Psychoactive Substances Code of Manufacturing Practice is the latest regulatory measure aimed at minimising harm to individuals from psychoactive substances.
Legal high manufacturers will now face an estimated $180,000 application fees plus $1-2 million in testing costs for each product they want to sell. Those caught selling banned substances face up to eight years in prison.
Mr McClay said it focused on ensuring all psychoactive products on the market in New Zealand were made to a consistently high standard in clean, controlled environments, and detailed the quality control requirements for psychoactive substances and products.
Tukituki National MP Craig Foss said the new code would "most certainly" put a squeeze on legal high manufacturers.
"This is one of the transition phases where we will really try and put the squeeze on these products, it will make life hard for those who are manufacturing the stuff.
"We have already seen the regulation taking effect on the distribution and selling of psychoactive substances, particularly in Hawke's Bay, this is the beginning of the regulation on the manufacturing side."
Mr McClay said the code was similar to standards required in the manufacture of therapeutic medicines and was likely to impose a significant cost on manufacturers to ensure product safety through reputable practices.
"Since July last year the act has been effective in removing psychoactive substances from an uncontrolled, unregulated setting and now allows for effective monitoring and control - including punishing those who choose to disregard the law.
"Before the act came into force, some 200 'legal high' products were sold from an estimated 4000 outlets throughout the country to people of all ages.
"Now there are around 47 products on the market sold from 170 outlets - a reduction of over 75 per cent of products and over 90 per cent of outlets. It is also now illegal to sell or give these products to anyone under the age of 18," said Mr McClay.
"In addition, work continues on further regulations to the act, which will put in place additional controls and safeguards around psychoactive products. Consultation on these regulations will commence in February."