Rules for legal highs approved

A last-minute plea for the sale of legal highs to be banned by the Waitaki District Council did not stop the council from approving a policy severely restricting the location of outlets.

Mike Edwards, in the public forum before yesterday's council meeting, suggested the council challenge the Government and ban legal highs, leading the way in New Zealand.

A similar plea was made in the vast majority of 28 submissions last month on the council's draft Local Approved Products Policy.

The Psychoactive Substance Act 2013, under which the policy has to be prepared, prevents local authorities from banning legal highs.

The council yesterday approved the policy, which effectively restricts sales to premises in a small area of the central business district around Thames-Severn Sts in Oamaru.

They cannot be sold in any rural towns from Omarama to Palmerston.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher again emphasised the council could not ban sales, nor make its policy so restrictive that, effectively, they were banned.

If it did, the policy would breach the law and legal highs may be sold anywhere in the district, he said.

Licensed premises would need to be at least 50m away from sensitive sites designated in the plan, such as schools, churches, and medical centres.

They would also need to be at least 100m from a residential area.

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