Pubdate: Tue, 10 Sep 2013
Source: Timaru Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2013 Timaru Herald
Author: Peter O'neill
Page: 7


YOU'D be right to wonder what has changed in Timaru since the 
Psychoactive Substances Bill was passed in Parliament in July. And 
you wouldn't be far wrong if you concluded "not much".

Because in Timaru, unlike other centres, recreational drugs were no 
longer being sold from dairies anyway.

Instead, two Stafford St retailers were the only shops selling 
synthetic cannabis, and they still are. Now, they do so under an 
interim licence, interim because the law has some catching up to do.

That catch-up involves testing the drugs that were on the market 
pre-July, to see whether they are low risk or not. This could take up 
to two years, but no one is really sure.

That is different to the story people were being sold. The impression 
was manufacturers of such drugs would have to prove they were safe, 
and this would cost them big bucks, and we assumed that would be from 
day one. Silly us.

Instead there is this grace period, where the drugs have to undergo 
clinical trials at the expense of the manufacturer. These will look 
to answer questions like, are these substances poisonous or 
addictive, might they cause cancer, and what impact do they have on 
someone's kidneys or mental state? You can see why the tests may take 
awhile. Why weren't such drugs banned straight off? A couple of 
possibilities. Which drugs, specifically, are we banning and why? 
And, go cold turkey and you encourage an underground market that, 
once established, is difficult to eradicate. So, perhaps some logic. 
Even if that's frustrating. Particularly as it turns out for some 
Stafford St retailers, who say some "shady characters" are 
congregating outside Karmec Creations, and their presence is 
intimidating. They allege buyers of the products are selling to 
underagers who wait in the nearby Royal Arcade. Police have increased 
their presence. That increased police activity and the watchful eyes 
of neighbouring retailers is probably the best we can hope for. There 
is provision under the new law for local councils to have a say on 
where such stores are located, but Stafford Street might be the best 
place for them. At least there are plenty of adult eyes about. 
Otherwise, it looks like we're just going to have to be patient.
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