There is much to learn from New Zealand’s stalled attempt to legalise new highs

Hailed as a better way than prohibition, there is much to learn from New Zealand’s stalled attempt to legalise new highs

The bow tie wearing politician from ADVOCATE GETS TRESPASS ORDER was the main man behind this law. I happened to be at a few meetings whilst he was glowing in the praise from around the world. Nek minute…..

JUST 18 months ago, New Zealand was the talk of the world’s drug law reformers. It had set up a system to allow new recreational drugs to gain official approval and be sold legally. Moreover, it had won sweeping parliamentary support for this – the Psychoactive Substances Act was passed with a solitary vote against. It seemed that a government had finally taken the bold step towards ending prohibition.

And yet now it is far from clear that the law will ever be used to approve a drug. A panicky government amendment may have made it unworkable. What happened has lessons for others seeking a better way than the failed “war” on drugs to minimise the problems related to psychoactive substances.

The act was meant to establish a process for new psychoactive substances to be tested and, if posing only “a low risk of harm”, approved for sale. Regulations would cover testing, importation, manufacture and sale. Politicians seemed to understand that “low risk” did not mean “no risk”.

War on drugs: The Kiwi comedown has lessons for all


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