The owner of Greymouth's sole stockist of synthetic highs is vowing to keep selling them, despite community opposition.
At a public meeting last night residents demanded Planet Funk stop selling the legal products, a week after public pressure prompted the closure of a similar business.
However, Planet Funk owner Cedric Togiram, who has operated from his Mackay St premises for seven years, was today angry about the agitation.
"I'm not going to give in like the owner of the other shop. Only losers give in and I am not a loser."
Mr Togiram said he sold other items and was not doing anything illegal.
"I sell clothing, sunglasses, sex toys and experiences for adrenalin junkies. I have my interim licence and I am only selling what has been regulated."
His big concern was that if the sale of legal highs was banned, users would turn to illicit drugs.
"Synthetic highs are not the problem in Greymouth, methamphetamine [P] is, and if people stop smoking herbal highs, they will turn to P," Mr Togiram said.
"I am an R19 shop. I could sell to 18-year-olds, but I don't and I am thinking about changing and only selling to people 20 years and over."
Last night's meeting, attended by 26 people, resolved to organise a march through town and peaceful pickets outside Planet Funk.
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said the council had received a notion of motion urging it to ask the Government to ban all synthetic highs.
"We have seen too much consistent damage to our youth from this kind of stuff - it is just too widespread now."
If the Grey District Council supported the motion he would canvas the 68 other councils in New Zealand and their mayors to get their support.
"This would be a major statement by the district councils of New Zealand and Parliament would have to start listening," Mr Kokshoorn said.
- The Greymouth Star