‘Legal highs’ policy may stay

An essentially redundant Waitaki District Council policy on legal highs is up for review and may be needed in future, a council report says.

The council’s Local Approved Products Policy was introduced in 2015 to limit the sale of psychoactive substances in the Waitaki district to business zone 1 in the Waitaki district plan.

The so-called legal highs were banned several years ago, and at present none are approved for sale in New Zealand.

However, a report from council policy and strategy manager Mike Searle, to be tabled at today’s meeting of the full council, said there was value in the policy being retained in its current form, and recommended councillors stick with the status quo.

"As there are currently no approved products in New Zealand or any applications for approval pending, it could be concluded that it is unnecessary to have such a policy.

"However, officers would prefer to maintain the policy in the event that some psychoactive substances are approved by the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority in the future."

The authority administers the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013.

Mr Searle said a review required under the Local Government Act 2002 showed the sale of psychoactive substances in Waitaki, which at one point led to protest marches in Oamaru, was no longer an issue.

"Council staff are not aware of any issues in the district currently. As part of the review council staff spoke to Oamaru police and Safer Waitaki and no issues were raised.

"Furthermore, a search of the Ministry of Health website shows there are currently no approved products in New Zealand: no licence applications for retailing, manufacturing, or wholesaling products have been received by the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority."

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