Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority suspends retail licences in Hamilton

Media release

11 March 2014

The Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority (the Authority) has today issued suspension notices to six interim psychoactive substance retail licence holders in Hamilton.

Affected retailers are required to immediately stop trading in psychoactive products.

This action follows the Hamilton City Council adopting a Local Approved Products Policy (LAPP) under section 66 of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 (the Act).  

The Council’s LAPP came into effect on 27 February 2014 and imposes restrictions on the location of premises within Hamilton City from which a licensed person may sell approved psychoactive products.  

The Authority has suspended each licence for 21 days on the basis of information provided by the Council today.

The Authority will now investigate the requirements of Council’s LAPP in more depth, and the extent to which each affected retailer complies.  Further regulatory action may include lifting the suspensions or taking action to cancel licences.

Retailers have the option of electing to surrender their licence by advising the Authority directly. The suspensions today are taken under section 22(1)(c) of the Act.

The Authority publishes details of interim retail licences, including suspensions and cancellations.

Background

Since the Psychoactive Substances Act (the Act) came into effect on 18 July 2013 there has been a substantial reduction in the widespread availability of psychoactive products that are known to have caused significant harm.  

Anecdotal reports from District Health Boards already show a noticeable improvement since the introduction of the Act in terms of mental health presentations related to the use of psychoactive products.  

Prior to the Act more than it is estimated 2-300 products were being sold from 3-4000 outlets (including dairies) to people of any age. Since then the number of outlets has reduced by more than 95% to around 155, over 75% of products have been removed from sale, and there are strict controls on advertising and age of access to these products.  

These improvements have been taken as a first and interim step during the transition to full regulations.  Regulations currently under development will impose further checks on access and safety for users, including for example stricter criteria on product approvals, and restrictions on retail hours and product labelling.

The purpose of the Act is to reduce harm to the users of psychoactive products.

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