A Dunedin shop is selling synthetic cannabis, apparently
legally, without an interim licence. Photo by Gerard
The Government says the Psychoactive Substances Act is
effective because it has suspended interim licences to sell
synthetic cannabis in Dunedin and Taranaki.
But a Dunedin shop is selling the product without a licence,
apparently legally, as it awaits a decision on an interim
The former Ha'pennys antique shop appears to be able legally
to sell synthetic cannabis while the application, by Dunedin
businessman Amrik Singh, is under consideration by the
Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority.
Authority manager Dr Donald Hannah said while an interim
licence was being considered, the applicant could sell until
a decision was made.
A young salesman in the Princes St synthetic cannabis shop,
who did not want to be named, said he had been selling six
synthetic cannabis brands for more than two weeks.
A nearby retailer believes the applicant has breached the Act
and wants the licence refused.
Scavengers' Paradise owner Jacqui Chilcott said she and other
nearby businesses owners had submitted to the authority
seeking a licence refusal because Mr Singh did not match all
the criteria for an approval.
She doubted Mr Singh had sold synthetic cannabis for 28 days
before applying, which was necessary to not be in breach of
Mr Singh said he had sold synthetic cannabis to two or three
people online and therefore met the criteria.
Mrs Chilcott said she hoped the Dunedin City Council would
create a policy so synthetic cannabis stores could not
operate within 1km of schools, day-care or play premises,
such as the nearby Chipmunks Playland.
''We're hoping that will get rid of that shop, but it all
depends whether the council has the appetite for it or if
they are so pro-business they don't really care what
Chipmunks Playland team leader Raewyn Napier said she
disagreed with the shop being so close to the after-school
The Salvation Army Dunedin addiction services director Glen
McLennan said he asked the ministry to refuse the shop's
licence because addiction service clients walked past the
''This is an unacceptable risk for our clients, who come to
treatment with us at the most vulnerable time in their using
lives,'' Mr McLennan said.
He said that part of town had high numbers of vulnerable
people, including many in boarding houses who were ''mental
The services of other health providers would also be
compromised by synthetic cannabis outlets.
The authority recently suspended the licence of Dong Zhou to
sell synthetic cannabis in Ravensbourne Rd, in Dunedin.
A spokesman for the shop, who did not want to be named, said
the licence was suspended after selling synthetic cannabis
for seven weeks, because it was operating too close to a
In its best week, the synthetic cannabis shop made 35 sales
so it did not make financial sense to open another shop.
Associate Health Minister Todd McClay said the suspension,
and another at Hawera,in Taranaki, revealed the Act was
effective in reducing the availability and accessibility of
The action revealed the authority was not ''merely
rubber-stamping applications'' and all interim retail
licensees underwent a police vetting process to ensure the
information provided was true and accurate.