New policy on legal highs aims to protect public safety

3 November 2014

Wellington City Council says its proposed policy on where licensed retailers can sell psychoactive products or “legal highs” is aimed at protecting public safety when the Government lifts its ban on the products next year.

“Our communities have told us they don’t want these substances, but the Government has decided to lift the temporary ban from mid-2015, which means we need to act now,” Community, Sport and Recreation Committee Chair Paul Eagle says.

“Clearly, we would prefer not to have legal highs in our city, but that decision rests with Parliament. However, the law enables us to implement a policy to control where the substances can be sold, which should be distanced from young and vulnerable people, as far as is practical and within the law.”

Cr Eagle said whilst it was unlikely that synthetic cannabis smokes will ever be legal again, the Council would write to the Associate Minister of Health requesting that Parliament assumes greater responsibility to regulate the supply and sale of legal high substances.

"While a "one-size-fits-all" approach doesn’t work, many Wellingtonians will ask why the Government hasn’t made legal highs a class A, B or C drug, given the harm they have caused in the past.”

In the meantime, the Council is calling for submissions on the draft policy and four options for where legal highs could be sold.  Consultation will run from Tuesday 4 November to 5pm, Friday 12 December.  People can have their say by:

  • Completing a submission form online
  • Sending comments via email: lapp@wcc.govt.nz
  • Phoning the Council on (04) 499 4444 to discuss
  • Requesting a hard copy submission form and posting in comments to:
    Freepost, Wellington City Council, PO Box 2199, Wellington 6140.

For more information, see: Public Input: Options for a Locally-approved Products Policy