War on Drugs

New Zealand Restricts Synthetic Drugs

Makers will have to "prove" safety of new products


Dairies, service stations and grocery stores will automatically be banned from selling synthetic cannabis and other legal highs from as early as July.

All other shopkeepers will need a licence to sell designer drugs under the Psychoactive Substances Bill, which is expected to force most of the controversial products off the shelves within the next few months.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne announced this week he was fast-tracking the law change, after widespread community anger at the sale of synthetic cannabis products such as K2 from many corner dairies, which are turning over up to $15,000 worth of drugs a month.

Police, courts, doctors and parents have blamed the drugs for a national outbreak of crime and anti-social behaviour, including violence, psychotic outbursts and rapid addiction similar to methamphetamine use.