Synthetic cannabis back on the market

By Amelia Wade

Amsterdam Cafe synthetic cannabis is back in shops. Photo  / Richard Robinson
Amsterdam Cafe synthetic cannabis is back in shops. Photo / Richard Robinson

A synthetic cannabis product is back on the market - and others are on the way - less than three months after the so-called "legal highs" were banned.

Auckland-based Enjoi Products released a repackaged and modified version of its Amsterdam Cafe synthetic cannabis product to convenience stores across Auckland on Saturday.

The Long Island Tea blend has been slightly chemically altered from the company's former Havana Special product, which was affected by the Government ban that came into force in August.

But the new product, which sells for $20, has "quite a similar effect" to the old one, Enjoi Products managing director Zaid Muso said.

"There's nothing to really hide here, it is a synthetic cannabinoid."

Amsterdam Cafe brand was able to skirt around the ban by slightly altering its packaging and one of the chemicals used in the blend, Mr Muso said.

Amsterdam Cafe had been distributed only to retailers who Enjoi Products deemed "responsible" and the company had been careful not to advertise it, Mr Muso said.

"We're trying to keep it discreet as we can - we've only given it to responsible retailers and haven't used posters or anything like that. All in the effort that kids don't get their hands on it."

Other companies were also gearing up to re-release modified synthetic cannabis products, Mr Muso said.

Matt Bowden, who imported the chemicals used to make Kronic, said the return of synthetic cannabis products was evidence that "prohibition doesn't work".

Instead of banning the products, Mr Bowden said, the Government needed to regulate them.

In July, the Government passed the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill after a series of articles in the Herald about the dangers of the product Kronic which was being sold in dairies.

The ban is an interim measure while the Government works on an overhaul of the Misuse of Drugs Act. Manufacturers will ultimately have to prove the safety of their products before they can be sold.

- NZ Herald

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