New regulatory regime for psychoactive substances

Updated October 2012

Agency Disclosure Statement

This Regulatory Impact Statement has been prepared by the Ministry of Health.

Current legislation has proved ineffective in dealing with the rapid growth in new psychoactive substances, such as party pills and other legal highs, which can be synthesised to be one step ahead of existing controls.  Cabinet has agreed to new legislation to address this by prohibiting the sale of all psychoactive substances unless approved by a regulator.  The new legislation will reduce risks to the public by removing untested and potentially harmful products from being sold and introducing a pre-market approval scheme with testing requirements and retail restrictions for low-risk psychoactive substances.

The Cabinet Paper provides recommendations for the policy approach for the new regime, including the new regulator, funding, importation, legislative implementation, and separate report-backs on retail restrictions, fee-setting, and offences and penalties.

The Regulatory Impact Statement considers options for the approval criteria, the establishment of a regulator to carry out assessments and make approvals, and the process for importation.

Don Gray, Deputy Director-General Policy Business Unit

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