Legal bloody highs | DCC’s pathetic buffer zones (fail OGHS / View Street)

Legal highs (via ODT 31.8.15)
• All psychoactive substances banned last year.
• Producers now need to prove their products are safe.
• Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority expected to begin issuing retail licences to sell approved products from November.
• Dunedin City Council consulting on proposed legal high retailers location policy; outlets permitted in only limited central city sites.
• No applications for product approval, or manufacturing licence, yet received.
• Any psychoactive product expected to take “at least” two years to win approval.

Dunedin City Council
Legal High Retail Location Policy

Closes: 14/09/2015

The Council is proposing to set out where legal highs (commonly referred to as ‘party pills’ or ‘synthetic cannabis’) can be sold within Dunedin.
The proposed Legal High Retail Location Policy will effectively ban sale of legal highs outside of the central city and within 100m of sensitive sites such as education facilities, churches, libraries, hospitals, mental health facilities and justice premises.

Background
Previously psychoactive substances could be manufactured and sold without restriction. The government reacted to the harm these products caused by banning them individually once harm had been investigated and proven. The process for doing this was slow and reactive and did not effectively manage the harm caused by the substances.

Parliament has now banned all psychoactive substances unless they can be proven to be no more than a low risk of harm to users. Although manufacturers are testing products, none have yet met the test to be considered an approved product.

Despite this, from later this year, those wanting to sell legal highs can apply to the Ministry of Health’s Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority for a retail licence. This means the retailers could sell legal highs as soon as one meets the low harm threshold.

Parliament also introduced rules around selling legal highs, including an age restriction, display and packaging restrictions and a ban on their sale from supermarkets, dairies, petrol stations, premises licenced to sell alcohol, residential premises, vending machines or places likely to be frequented by minors (for example recreational or sports facilities). It also gave councils the power to specify where (within reason) in their districts, legal highs can be sold.
This means the Council can formalise the community’s preferences for where legal highs can be sold (within the scope of the law) by adopting a Legal High Retail Location Policy (also called a ‘Local Approved Products Policy’). All applications for retail licenses would have to first be checked against the policy before the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority could legally grant a licence. The Council cannot make a policy that bans legal highs outright, or is so restrictive it effectively bans their sale.

OPTIONS (Pros / Cons X)
Parliament has created a system which makes some psychoactive substances legal. The Council does not have the power to ban the sale of legal highs in Dunedin. The options available to the Council include:

Option A
Restrict legal high retailers to the Dunedin central city area provided they are more than 100m from “sensitive sites” (proposed).
Restrictions within the Act apply (no sales from dairies, petrol stations and residential premises etc.)
Sales only allowed where there is high public surveillance (Dunedin central city area) and away from sensitive sites like schools, churches, the library, the hospital, mental health facilities and justice premises
X Demand for complete ban not met

Option B
Allow sale of legal highs in areas other than the Dunedin central city area
Restrictions within the Act apply (no sales from dairies, petrol stations and residential premises etc.)
X Sales occur away from the areas of highest public surveillance and potentially closer to sensitive sites like schools, churches, the library, the hospital, mental health facilities and justice premises
X Demand for complete ban not met

Option C
No restrictions above those outlined in the Act
Restrictions within the Act apply (no sales from dairies, petrol stations and residential premises etc.)
X No restrictions on sale of legal highs near schools, churches, the library, the hospital, mental health facilities and justice premises
X Demand for complete ban not met

The Proposal
We are proposing Option A – restricting legal high retailers to the Dunedin central city area (Option A), provided they are not within 100 metres of sensitive sites such as schools, churches, the library, the hospital, mental health facilities and justice premises.

There are two key reasons for this approach.

This is the only regulation currently available to limit sale of legal highs in Dunedin

A Legal High Retail Location Policy is the only way the community can limit the sale of legal highs within the current regulatory system. The proposed policy limits the sale of legal highs to the extent possible under the law as it stands. Adopting an overly restrictive policy could be legally challenged.
Non-regulatory responses such as education and advocacy to central government can and will also be used to help manage the harm caused by legal highs.

To limit sale of legal highs to where harm is likely to be better managed

Limiting the sale of legal highs to the central city would mean sales would occur in areas where there is natural public surveillance (ie areas of high foot traffic and/or CCTV cameras). This would help reduce risks to the community.
Adding a 100m buffer zone around sensitive sites (schools, churches, the library, the hospital, mental health facilities and justice premises) will further reduce exposure to legal highs, particularly among users of sensitive sites.
By applying these criteria legal high retailers will be prohibited from suburban retail areas such as South Dunedin, Green Island, Mosgiel and Port Chalmers.

DCC Legal Highs CBD-July-2015-buffers

Have Your Say
The Council wants to know what you think about the proposed Legal High Retail Location Policy. Have we defined sensitive sites effectively? Would you add or remove any? Are the proposed buffer zones correct? How would the proposed policy affect you?
Provide your feedback using the form below and/or indicating whether you would like to speak at the public hearing, to be held in late September.

█ Feedback closes 5pm, Monday 14 September.

Consultation documents
Draft Legal High Location Policy (PDF, 549.0 KB)
Legal Highs in Dunedin – Have Your Say

Consultation details: Closing date: 14/09/2015

Public feedback
Online submission form
● Email to – legalhighs @dcc.govt.nz
● Post to – Dunedin City Council, PO Box 5045, Moray Place, Dunedin 9058, Attention Governance Support Officer – Legal High Retail Location Policy Consultation
● Hand deliver to – DCC Customer Services Centre, Ground Floor, 50 The Octagon, Dunedin, Attention: Governance Support Officer – Legal High Retail Location Policy Consultation

DCC Link

Comment at ODT Online:

What next DCC?
Submitted by Catcher on Mon, 31/08/2015 – 9:37am.

I think it’s just an unhappy circumstance that we’re seeing the ‘Bermuda triangle’ occur at the bottom of View St – A known problem area for anti-social behaviour. The Council will certainly be copping some flak for it and where they depict the woefully inadequate buffer zone that 100m represents around the most vulnerable and impressionable of all the ‘Sensitive sites’, the school. If that measurement started from the perimeters of these sensitive sites, no one would be permitted to operate in the city centre – which would send a clear message to our City planners.
Read more

██ AS IF VIEW STREET RESIDENTS AND NEARBY BUSINESSES HAVEN’T HAD ENOUGH ALREADY, MAYOR LIABILITY CULL

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17.5.15 Social media messages after Sunday TVNZ (10 May)
11.5.15 Aftermath of Sunday TVNZ on ‘Party Central’
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Legal bloody highs | DCC’s pathetic buffer zones (fail OGHS / View Street)

  1. Keith McMillan

    What a stupid idea, as if there isn’t enough stupid people out there now without having some more on drugs.

  2. Mike

    It is stupid, but for different reasons, the council should be treating all drugs the same, any law like this should apply equally to alcohol and nicotine.

    Also the city has no place propping up religions, if ministers don’t want their flocks showing up stoned (or drunk ….) they should preach to them about it, not depend on the city spending non-believers’ rates to foist their morals on the rest of us.

  3. Calvin Oaten

    Weird really, that people seem to want to indulge in these mind shifting activities, or perhaps it is that they don’t have minds. Worse of course, are those that want to make money out of this human failing. Comes a time when these ‘children’ should be recognised for what they are and be disciplined like children, by parents. The parents in this instance would ‘de facto’ and ought to be those elected to look over the community. This of course is the city council. Would that they would show some ‘testicular fortitude’ and ban the products within the city limits. Likely? I haven’t yet heard of there being any snow in hell.

  4. Hype O'Thermia

    “Weird really, that people seem to want to indulge in these mind shifting activities” – no, Calvin, it’s not weird. People everywhere have always wanted to “mind-shift”. Merrier, energised, relaxed, experiencing (often seen as spiritual) visions and dreams, seeing and hearing the familiar in enhanced unfamiliar ways. It’s just how we are, most of us. Using smoked and ingested substances, or fasting and rituals and music and chanting, meditation – there are many ways of taking a break from the mind’s usual track.
    I don’t think it’s the substance that matters, it’s the harm. Does it cause people to harm themselves or others, if so is that in normal dosages or only when used to excess? Even water, in excess, is dangerous.
    Laws need to get away from precise ring-fencing of substances and concentrate on effects.
    If “legal” highs – or any other substances – are of such potential danger that they should not be sold near schools etc etc etc, why not make it a rule that they can only be sold within, say, a block of a police station?

  5. Elizabeth

    Hype, to each their own.
    Yes, the human race has its histories of ‘use’…. however, I (impossibly) want legal highs banned and anything that replaces them.

    I can’t force that view on the liberally or even modestly inclined.
    You might say, just as well.

    Legalisation of psychoactive substances ?
    I’m glad you mention HARM. That Parliament has now banned all psychoactive substances “unless they can be proven to be no more than a low risk of harm to users”, seems wise —time will tell how workable this has been; for now it’s new ground.

    Human greed and cunning being what it is, I expect more loopholes, more woe.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      I see no reason to ban any highs, including alcohol, other than harm. Alcohol, being already widely accepted and impossible to remove from our society, could well provide the benchmark. More harmful than alcohol – ban it. Same or less harmful – permit, with restrictions if any based on age of user/purchaser, and quality of substance.

  6. Elizabeth

    We’re fundamentally opposed. It’s all SHITE and shouldn’t be in the food chain.

    I’m quite able to state my position on alcohol but you’d hate that too.

  7. Pb

    Why focus on the arse end of society, they aren’t likely to even bother to vote. What a loser strategy. There ain’t a good end to pick up a piece of poo.

  8. Elizabeth

    You have to love (straight shooting) Clutha mayor Bryan Cadogan’s detest for legal highs, and the stance taken previously by Clutha retailers ~!!!

    When psychoactive products were last on the market, no retailers in Clutha sold the legal highs, but their damaging effects were still felt in the district. –Mayor Bryan Cadogan

    ### ODT Online Wed, 2 Sep 2015
    Call to boycott retailers
    By Hamish MacLean
    Only a boycott of retailers prepared to sell psychoactive substances can put an end to the “scourge” of legal highs, Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan says. Just as the Dunedin City Council is consulting on proposed legal highs retail zones, in anticipation of a psychoactive product being approved for sale, Mr Cadogan said the Clutha district was “working through the process”. “But it won’t make a bar of difference,” he said. “Society has to take ownership; it’s a social responsibility. We owe our young ones no less.”
    Read more

  9. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Thu, 24 Sep 2015
    Council seeks clarification on legal highs exclusion zones
    By Timothy Brown
    Could pop-up churches scuttle legal high stores? […] throw away remark prompted questions from Dunedin City Council hearings committee members about what effect new ”places of worship” would have on licensed and existing retailers of legal highs.
    █ The committee unanimously agreed to pass the refined exclusion zone which would prohibit retailers from operating at the intersection of View St and Moray Pl and expanded the area on George St on which they could operate.
    Read more

  10. Elizabeth

    From next month, retailers and producers will be able to apply for licences to produce and market legal highs.

    ### ODT Online Sun, 4 Oct 2015
    ‘Matter of time’ till legal highs back on shelves
    By Timothy Brown
    In 2013, the New Zealand Government introduced game-changing and world-leading legislation designed to tackle the legal highs industry. A year later, under a wave of public pressure, psychoactive substances were pulled from the shelves. However, next month players in the industry can take their first tentative steps back into the marketplace.
    Read more

    That name [Citifleet fame]:
    Wayne McFadyen, whose son was a user of legal highs, said he hoped the products would never come back. His son was not talking to him and had changed completely since bingeing on legal highs […] ”He’s either going to get hurt or he’s going to hurt someone else.”

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