Council to continue fight against legal highs
Published prior to 2016
Council will vote on a policy to restrict the sale of psychoactive substances (legal highs) in Kāpiti on 11 June 2015.
Meanwhile it will continue to lobby central government to ban the sale of legal highs, which is not possible under current law.
At yesterday’s Regulatory Management Committee (RMC) meeting a majority of councillors voted not to endorse the policy so there is more time for central government lobbying before it goes to the full council for a decision.
Committee chair Cr Diane Ammundsen says the RMC debate and final decision show the depth of frustration people are feeling and the difficulty of finding the best way forward.
“I think we all agree that we don’t want legal high sales happening anywhere in the district and it’s abundantly clear the community does not want this either.
“Council has continued to strongly oppose the law that means we need a local approved products policy and we will continue to lobby the Government to amend it.”
Council developed and sought community feedback on a draft local approved products policy (LAPP) in 2014/15. The draft policy identifies part of the industrial and airport zones west of the expressway land on Kāpiti Road as the most appropriate location for sales in the district.
Of the 57 submissions received on the policy received from the public, most opposed any sales in the district and many wanted the policy amended to strengthen opposition. Only six supported the policy and three of those wanted it amended. Four petitions against legal high sales were also presented at the hearings.
In response to community concerns raised during the consultation, the draft policy to be considered by council now has a smaller area where legal highs could be sold, with a larger buffer area to protect a school proposed for the area. It also extends the definition of a sensitive site to include residential retirement facilities.
The Psychoactive Substances Act allows local councils to restrict where psychoactive substances (legal highs) can be sold in their district, but not ban them. The Ministry of Health will be guided by the policy when issuing licences in the designated areas to retail outlets that are allowed to sell legal highs.
The law says tests must prove there is a low risk of harm before any substances can be approved for sale. Rules for testing are now in place although no products have yet been approved for sale.