March a protest over 'legal highs'

The crusading Oamaru mother behind the town's second anti-synthetic cannabis protest march says public support for an end to the sale of so-called legal highs is growing.

More than 50 people, including restorative justice representatives and school pupils, marched along Thames St on Saturday, to oppose the continued sale of synthetic cannabis at three of the town's dairies.

It was the second protest march since December, and organiser Linda Forbes said she had received even more support from people this time around.

Mrs Forbes said she started to organise the protests after her own family was affected by synthetic cannabis abuse.

Her own son had ''totally changed'', since he started using synthetic cannabis, she said.

She said things got so bad at home she came close to walking out on her children and family, due to the strain of dealing with the side-effects of legal highs.

Mrs Forbes said more marches were already in the pipeline.

''We're just going to keep it up until something happens.''

Safer Waitaki Trust project turnaround co-ordinator Derek Beveridge said he took part in the march because of the strain the misuse of legal and illegal drugs had put on the judicial system.

''I'm concerned with the numbers of people coming into the criminal process and the restorative justice process.''

Mr Beveridge said it was ''fair to say'' large numbers of crimes were committed due to the use and misuse of drugs, ''including'' synthetic cannabis.

He said he was pleased young people had also taken part in the march.

- andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz