Council okays legal highs policy

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The Waitaki District Council’s Local Approved Products Policy (Psychoactive Substances) (LAPP) has been approved by councillors and will go out for public consultation.

The policy, which covers the Waitaki district, sets criteria and lists decisions made by council in consultation with residents that can restrict the location of premises selling psychoactive substances, also known as legal highs.

The policy is designed to address public concern about where legal highs can be sold, while meeting the statutory requirements of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013.

Under the council’s policy, legal highs would be unable to be sold within 50m of a sensitive site, within 100m of a residential area and only within the Thames St block between Dee St and Itchen St in Oamaru’s central business district.
At yesterday’s meeting, Cr Melanie Tavendale praised the policy but said she would have liked to have seen councils given the power to ban legal highs.

“We can only restrict them and this is a very reasonable policy. It would be great to hear the community say they don’t want them at all … I think this is a great mid-point result and I imagine it will be difficult to find a place to sell them.”

The LAPP is likely to go out for public consultation on February 20.

By Daniel Birchfield