The Government’s intention to ban the remaining synthetic substitutes won’t work if cannabis remains illegal.
“The more risky synthetic substances are only demanded because consumers can’t legally use natural cannabis,” says Chris Fowlie, spokesperson for NORML (National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, New Zealand Inc).
“The false demand for synthetic products will only be reduced when real, natural, cannabis is finally legalised in New Zealand like it already has been in Colorado, Washington, Uruguay and the Netherlands.
“We note the Government and opposition parties remain committed to the regulatory approach of the Psychoactive Substances Act, which will not be repealed. NORML’s position is that natural cannabis should be brought within this act or similarly regulated, because the best way to reduce the use of synthetics is to legalise the real thing.”
Chris Fowlie is also the Managing Director of The Hempstore, the first store in New Zealand to sell legal highs, and is the holder of the world’s first retail license issued for Psychoactive Substances.
“The Hempstore began selling legal highs in 1998, to draw attention to the futility of drug prohibition and to show how regulating substances can achieve better public health outcomes than simply driving it underground.”
“We stand with the vast majority of New Zealanders who believe cannabis is the safer choice. We also believe that in the absense of comprehensive cannabis law reform, people will continue to use synthetics, but in even more risky ways.
“New Zealand has led the world in our response to legal highs, but this ban will simply push it underground and out of control. As long as cannabis remains illegal, there will always be demand for synthetic substitutes.”