Demand for synthetic cannabis would plummet if natural cannabis were legally and safely available here as in Colorado, where laws have today been enacted to ensure the world’s first legal marijuana market for adults will be a robust and comprehensive regulatory system.

“Our parliament is grappling with regulations controlling the sale of synthetic cannabis and party pills,” said NORML spokesperson Chris Fowlie, “but there is no market for these fakes where natural cannabis is legal or tolerated such as in Colorado, Washington, California, Vancouver and the Netherlands.”

Colorado’s new rules for the controlled availability of natural cannabis were signed into law today by Governor Hickenlooper who called them “commonsense” oversight.

Ironically, Colorado’s rules for natural cannabis mirror those expected under New Zealand’s Psychoactive Substances Bill for the production and sale of synthetic cannabis, such as potency and ingredient labeling and a requirement it is sold in child-proof opaque packing with labels clearly stating the drug may not be safe.

“The Psychoactive Substances Bill is a great step in the right direction, as it attempts to regulate and control rather than prohibit and pretend. But polls show New Zealanders want our cannabis laws changed too. The most recent, on TV3’s The Vote, showed 70% support for a new approach,” said Mr Fowlie.

Voters in Colorado legalised cannabis as a constitutional amendment last year. Adults aged over 21 are allowed to possess up to an ounce and grow up to six plants, or buy their pot in retail stores, which are due to open in 2014.

“As in the Netherlands, the legal regulation of cannabis sales is expected to break any link between pot smoking and hard drug sellers – and fake cannabis peddlers too,” said Chris Fowlie, who recently visited Colorado and California on a fact finding trip.

“Cannabis is legal in Colorado and de-facto legal in California. I didn’t find any fake weed for sale, just top quality lab-tested natural marijuana. My contacts in both states confirmed to me there was simply no market there for synthetic cannabis.”

“Why would anyone want a fake if they can have the real thing?”

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