Tag Archives: Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority

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

Related Posts and Comments:
12.5.15 View Street, seen from Moray Place
2.6.15 Unpublished letter to ODT editor —Aftermath of Sunday TVNZ (10 May)
17.5.15 Social media messages after Sunday TVNZ (10 May)
11.5.15 Aftermath of Sunday TVNZ on ‘Party Central’
8.5.15 Sunday TVNZ #Dunedin —10 May TV1 at 7:00 pm

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

11 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Economics, Media, New Zealand, People, Police, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Tourism, Town planning, Urban design