The Government considered having absolutely no criminal penalties for users of synthetic drugs when pulling together its response to a crisis that has contributed to about 80 deaths in the past two years.

But the option was rejected because it could have created a perverse incentive for people to use synthetics rather than pricier and less harmful drugs - such as cannabis - which can still be penalised with jail terms.

Instead the Government went for a clause about police discretion in the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill, which would classify AMB-FUBINACA and 5F-ADB - common components of synthetic drugs

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