Synthetic drug ban 'a step in the right direction'

By Rebecca Malcolm of the Rotorua Daily Post -
The Lotteries Comission demanded that all independently owned Lotto outlets stop selling party pills and synthetic cannabis by the end of the month or risk losing their Lotto products. Photo / File
The Lotteries Comission demanded that all independently owned Lotto outlets stop selling party pills and synthetic cannabis by the end of the month or risk losing their Lotto products. Photo / File

A decision by New Zealand Lotteries to demand its retailers stop selling party pills and synthetic cannabis alongside Lotto products is a step in the right direction, according to a mum whose daughter is addicted to the drugs.

The Rotorua woman, who does not want to be named, said she was thrilled to hear the organisation had written to independently owned stores across New Zealand selling Lotto products asking them not to sell legal highs from July 1.

She said it was great to see a respected organisation taking a stance on the drugs and enhanced the organisations credibility.

"It's great that a big organisation can show an understanding of what's going on in our community."

However it seems the decision is likely to have little affect in Rotorua with Lotto stockists already opting not to stock the legal highs.

Fordlands Four Square and Lotto spokesman Arif Ahmed said the store had never stocked synthetic cannabis or party pills, so the move wouldn't have any impact.

He said the decision was made early on not to stock the products as it "isn't the right thing to do".

The Forest Industry Contractors Association has also welcomed the move.

Rotorua-based spokesman John Stulen said their lead showed a great moral compass.

"We've been unhappy as an industry with the slow moves by Government to eliminate synthetic drugs from the shelves but it seems the market has to take the lead now."

He said the forestry industry had to set the bar higher than society in terms of eliminating drug taking, so the actions of Lotto sent the right signal.

The forest industry in New Zealand was the first primary industry to implement random testing for safety sensitive positions in the workplace. Ever since then forestry has taken the lead to keep drugs and drug-users out of the forestry workplace, he said.

Feedback from the Rotorua Daily Post Facebook page was overwhelmingly positive in support of the move.

A select committee is expected to report back this week on a bill which would ban all unsafe synthetic drugs from August.

Temporary bans are in place for 33 substances including the synthetic cannabis brand K2, but these bans will lapse in August.

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