Customs has seized and destroyed almost 800kg of synthetic
cannabis products destined for the New Zealand market, it has
Figures released under the Official Information Act show the
New Zealand Customs Service has seized 784kg of banned
substances since the introduction of temporary class drug
notices (TCDNs). That includes eight Auckland interceptions
in August and September last year, totalling 670kg.
A Customs spokeswoman said the service worked closely with
the Ministry of Health to counter smuggling, manufacturing
and distribution of controlled drugs and substances covered
''Unlawful importation of these substances will in some cases
carry significant penalties and, therefore, Customs will
seize and investigate as appropriate.''
The Misuse of Drugs Act was amended in August 2011 to provide
for temporary bans of up to 12 months on new psychoactive
substances. The notices were issued for substances rather
than commercial synthetic cannabis products, such as K2 or
Kronic, but meant products containing those substances were
effectively banned at the border, the spokeswoman said.
''Customs have, on occasion, notified the Ministry of Health
of new psychoactive substances we have encountered at the
border,'' she said.
Those substances were then considered for inclusion under the
TCDN regime, which was a holding measure until permanent
legislation was introduced next year. Last month, Associate
Health Minister Peter Dunne told the Otago Daily Times that
about 50 substances found in 30 products had been banned. In
2011, Customs recorded 14 interceptions of banned substances
totalling 736kg, while in 2012 there have been 80
interceptions totalling 48kg.
Anyone found importing, making or supplying those banned
substances could face up to eight years in prison.