Tourist city eyes ban on legal highs

There is strong community support for the legal highs ban. Photo / APN
There is strong community support for the legal highs ban. Photo / APN

The sale of legal highs could be effectively banned in Rotorua from June 5.

Rotorua district councillors will meet next week to discuss submissions to the council's Local Approved Products Policy aimed at restricting the sale of legal highs.

A non-scientific poll conducted by the Rotorua Daily Post of 300 people showed strong community backing for the ban.

Of those polled, 273, or 91 per cent, said legal highs should be banned, with 27 people, or 9 per cent, saying no or don't know.

The majority of those who said they should not be banned said prohibition was not the answer and people should be better educated about all drugs, including alcohol, tobacco and marijuana.

If the council adopts the policy, the four premises in Rotorua with interim licences to sell the products would have them revoked on June 5.

Hearings begin at 9.30am on Thursday in the council chamber.

The Rotorua District Council received 541 submissions to its policy.

Of those, 484 were received from a petition to allow retailers to sell the products as a safer alternative.

The majority of the remainder of the submissions opposed having the products available in the community.

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick said MPs responsible for the law would be hearing from the council about the issue in the near future.

She said she felt strongly about a total ban on legal highs due to their detrimental effect on the community.

The prevention manager of Rotorua police, Inspector Ed Van Den Broek, said officers regularly dealt with incidents caused by synthetic cannabis.

- APN

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