Worried parent pickets legal high shop

A policeman talks to Calvin Hooper about his protest in Dunedin yesterday against synthetic...
A policeman talks to Calvin Hooper about his protest in Dunedin yesterday against synthetic cannabis. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
A concerned parent picketing outside a store which sells Dunedin synthetic cannabis sparked a heated debate yesterday.

Farmer Calvin Hooper, of Blackhead, said he picketed outside Cosmic Corner in George St yesterday because his adult child was admitted to Wakari Hospital on Saturday after smoking the synthetic cannabis Tai High.

''Our child has the tendency to try something once and doesn't know how to stop.''

He asked the ODT not to publish his child's gender and age to protect his child, who wanted to stop smoking synthetic cannabis but was unable to.

The child had negative reactions after smoking synthetic cannabis, such K2 and Chronic, and had been admitted to Wakari Hospital before.

Mr Hooper wanted all synthetic cannabis to be banned and for politicians to act immediately.

Yesterday, he protested using an amplified microphone and holding a ''Stop all legal highs, they are killing our kids. Stop now'' sign.

A policeman told him he could continue his protest as long as he did not obstruct the footpath, or access to the store.

Mr Hooper said he would continue his protest throughout the week.

As he protested yesterday, a 22-year-old University of Otago student, of Auckland, who did not want to be named, said if someone had a negative reaction from smoking synthetic cannabis, the blame should lie with the smoker rather than the store that sold it, and Mr Hooper was trying to shift the blame to the store.

The student said banning the sale of synthetic cannabis would not protect those people who could not protect themselves.

A group of three women passing disagreed with the student and shook Mr Hooper's hand in support.

''A lot of parents will wholeheartedly agree with what he is doing,'' a woman said.

Cosmic Corner founder Mark Carswell, who is overseas, did not respond to emails yesterday.

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