Government In Denial About 'Zombie' Drug Spice

26 April 2017

New Zealand First says the government is in denial after images on television news showed what appears to be the zombie-like effects of the synthetic cannabis ‘Spice’ in New Zealand.

“Spice is a massive problem in the UK and earlier this month, Australia’s 7News warned it was heading down under and footage last night seemingly shows it could now be here,” says New Zealand First Police Spokesperson, Ron Mark.

“In March, we asked the Police Minister and the Associate Minister of Health what preparations they were making to combat Spice.  You could not be more underwhelmed with their reply if you had tried because Spice is in the league all of its own.

“All we got from Minister Dunne was legislation like the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013, as if the scum dealing drugs like this will care.  As for Minister Bennett, it was the standard Ostrich-like response of this government: ‘there is currently no information to suggest that there is any increase in demand or supply of the ‘Spice’ product in New Zealand, or that this product would likely have substantial impact on our illicit drug market in the future’.

“News footage seemingly shows that it could be here and British media claims most of it comes from China.  If this government’s supposed relationship with China was at all real, then the Chinese Government would be actively stamping down on this perverse export.

“We need to get on top of this and quick because Spice is cheap, highly addictive and will devastate our towns. It starts by getting addicts off the street and into treatment before offering the scum peddling this a very long all-expenses paid stay in prison,” says Mr Mark.

 


NZ First’s Question: What preparations, if any, are being made to combat the synthetic cannabis, Spice, which has recently emerged in the UK?

Portfolio: Health (Associate Minister - Dunne)

Minister: Hon Peter Dunne

Date Lodged: 15/03/2017

Answer Text: The Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 applies to substances that are manufactured, imported and/or supplied for the purpose of inducing a psychoactive effect. This includes the synthetic cannabis Spice. Such products are likely to be considered unapproved psychoactive substances unless they are regulated under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 or the Medicines Act 1981. The New Zealand Customs Service and New Zealand Police are responsible for enforcing these Acts.
NZ First’s Question: What preparations, if any, are being made to combat the synthetic cannabis, Spice, which has recently emerged in the UK?

Portfolio: Police

Minister: Hon Paula Bennett

Date Lodged: 15/03/2017

Answer Text: I am advised that ‘Spice’ is a brand name for one of a number of synthetic cannabis products which have been available worldwide since the mid-2000’s; it is also sometimes used generically to refer to synthetic cannabis in general. Synthetic cannabis first emerged as a risk in New Zealand several years ago and, as a result, the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 was implemented in June 2013, with a subsequent Amendment enacted in May 2014. Since this time, no synthetic cannabis products have been legally available. Any psychoactive substance is therefore considered an unapproved product with import, manufacture, and supply of such products prohibited without licence from the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority. While there is still some illicit trafficking of these substances among a limited number of users, the overall level of use, and associated harm, has dropped substantially as a result of the legislation. ‘Spice’ as seen in the UK would be included in the substances covered under the Act and New Zealand is therefore already well equipped to combat this problem; further, there is currently no information to suggest that there is any increase in demand or supply of the ‘Spice’ product in New Zealand, or that this product would likely have substantial impact on our illicit drug market in the future.