About a dozen protesters picketed a Wanganui shop for a third time over its sale of "legal highs", although this time they faced counter-protesters who argued alcohol was more dangerous.

Close to 50 people attended the first protest at Stardust Creations in Victoria Ave last Thursday when owner Donna Scarrow defended her decision to sell the products and said she had the necessary licence to do so. Between 30 and 50 turned up for the second picket on Saturday according to protesters.

One of the organisers, Philippa Baker-Hogan, said the protesters had support from "the silent majority" of the public, reinforced with several honks from passing cars.

"I'm concerned about issues and this is the issue of the moment - the community is beginning to realise how big and widespread it is."

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Further protests outside Stardust were planned, including one this Saturday.

One of the protesters said just because synthetic drugs were legal was not an excuse to sell them.

Also present yesterday were six young men who argued with protesters that alcohol and cigarettes were a greater threat.

One of them, Terry Lambert, said his experience was that using synthetic drugs had the opposite effect to drinking alcohol. "I've done stupid things when I'm pissed but you won't find me going out and causing trouble when I've used this stuff," he said.

Another of the group said he had heard instances of the psychoactive drugs helping people to wean themselves from illegal drugs.