New Zealanders are being consulted about the next stage in the new law around psychoactive substances.
The Psychoactive Substances Act came into force in July 2013 with the aim of minimising harm to the public. The manager of the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority, Dr Donald Hannah, says the next important stage for the Act will be the development of regulations which over time will supersede some interim aspects of the law.
‘The Act already carries very considerable powers of regulation and the Authority has been able to, in a short space of time, move New Zealand from an unregulated and un-monitored market in psychoactive substances, to a much smaller and regulated market.
‘However the Act has always been explicit that the eventual drafting of regulations would occur to further its ability to minimise harm from psychoactive substances.’
Dr Hannah says since the Act the number of retail outlets selling psychoactive products has reduced from an estimated 3000 to 4000 thousand unregulated sellers to fewer than 170 licensed premises nationwide, a reduction of around 95 percent. From an estimated 200 products prior to legislation the number of products available has reduced by over 75 percent to 41.
A key part of the new legislation has been the ability to remove products from the market that cause harm. Five have already been removed. The Regulatory Authority encourages anyone who is aware of products causing harm to call the 0800 number to report this (Psychoactive Substances Hotline 0800 789 652). ‘We do require a certain level of evidence before we can act, but when we have it, we will take action.’
Dr Hannah says the Authority appreciates there has been much for communities to grapple with in the rollout of the new law, and it is important that people take this chance to help influence further regulation.
Consultation is open from today, 19 February 2014, until 5pm 21, March, 2014. Regulations will then be developed for Parliament’s consideration.
The issues the Authority is seeking information and views on are linked to parts of the Act and include:
- the licence application process for retailing, manufacturing, researching, importation and wholesale of psychoactive substances and products
- the psychoactive product approval process
- labelling and packaging of approved products
- advertising and place of sale matters
- fees and levies on the psychoactive substances industry
Details on how to make a submission can be seen at Psychoactive Substances Regulations: A consultation document, where people can also view other information about the Act.