An emergency law banning party pills and synthetic cannabis
has passed under urgency.
The Psychoactive Substances Amendment Act removes all
remaining psychoactive products on the market. It also bans
the use of animal testing data in support of product
The Act is expected to receive Royal assent today and become
law at 12.01am tomorrow.
Health Minister Tony Ryall said when the Psychoactive
Substances Act was passed last year, some products were
allowed to stay on the market.
"The amendment means all interim retail and wholesale
licences will be cancelled and all psychoactive products
given interim approval will be removed from sale. It will
also become illegal to possess and supply the products.
"While animal testing remains a necessary and important
component of the process for developing a number of important
products, such as medicines, the government does not believe
that such testing was justifiable for the recreational drug
Approved, low-risk products would be able to come on market
in the future when regulations were made, Mr Ryall said.
However, all psychoactive products will become unapproved
from Thursday and it will become an offence to possess,
supply or sell them.
The penalty for possessing a small amount of a psychoactive
substance will be a $500 fine. Possessing a large amount with
intention to supply will be punishable by up to two years'
jail or a fine of $500,000.
Those in possession of products are advised to return them to
the retailer they purchased them from, Mr Ryall said.
Retailers and manufacturers would not be compensated for
While the psychoactives testing regime would accept overseas
animal drug trials which proved that a product was unsafe,
such tests would not be able to be carried out in New Zealand
to support a product's application.
Mr Ryall said the 41 products which had temporary waivers
were not linked to adverse reactions when they were approved
But since the bill passed in August, health authorities had
reported an increase in serious reactions including vomiting,
seizures and psychotic episodes.
The Government already had power to remove specific products
from the market. But because it has been difficult to link
cases to individual products, all of them are being removed
until a robust testing regime is in place.
- Brendan Manning of APNZ, additional reporting by Isaac