Legal high bill to be fast tracked

By Hamish McNeilly of the Otago Daily Times

File photo / Sarah Ivey
File photo / Sarah Ivey

Politicians are set to fast track a legal high Bill following increased public concern about synthetic cannabis.

Yesterday, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne announced he would push the Psychoactive Substances Bill through Parliament with the aim of legislation being in place in July.

A spokeswoman for Prime Minister John Key told the Otago Daily Times that efforts to fast track the Bill had the support of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

"The Prime Minister does have concerns around these products, which is why he has supported the Temporary Class Drug Notice regime, which is a temporary measure until legislation is in place."

Mr Dunne said it was complicated legislation.

"We need to get it right and leave no loopholes for this industry, but we were already pushing this legislation quickly and it is now getting quicker.

"We are fully aware of the concerns of New Zealanders around these products and this industry."

Labour associate health spokesman Iain Lees-Galloway said while his party was happy with the intent of the Bill, it could have been introduced much sooner.

While the Bill would establish a licensing regime for people wanting to manufacture and import the substances, the Opposition wanted that widened to include the people who sold legal highs.

"We also want greater ability for communities to have their say about exactly where the shops that sell legal highs can be placed in their communities."

- Otago Daily Times

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