Party pills will be removed from many dairies and grocery stores earlier than expected after the Lotteries Commission banned all of its outlets from selling legal highs, weeks before hard-hitting legislation comes into force.
NZ Lotteries said it could not wait until the Psychoactive Substances Bill - which would ban unsafe legal highs in late July - passed into law.
It has 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.
Chief executive Wayne Pickup said the commission was uncomfortable about its brand being associated with synthetic drugs, especially after the groundswell of public outrage about the harm some products were causing.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"We're concerned at the damage it could do to our brand and from the 1st of July we are instructing them to cease selling them or they'll be in breach of their retail agreement with us."
He said the substances were already hurting young people and he would not wait until the law change, at which point all dairies, grocery stores and petrol stations would be banned from selling legal highs and other sellers would have to gain licences and only sell to people 18 years and over.
Lotto was sold in more than 1200 outlets.
The commission sent warning letters to 600 independent retailers, around 10 per cent of whom were believed to sell party pills.