04 July 2011

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) strongly supports the Ministry of Health’s ban of a second synthetic cannabis product and is calling for significantly tougher legislation on these products.

“We need legislation with a far more stringent set of rules to protect the public from the dangerous side-effects of these drugs,” says NZMA Chair Dr Paul Ockelford.

The Ministry of Health has banned Juicy Puff Super Strength and Kronic Pineapple Express, which was found to contain an anti anxiety prescription medication phenazepam and can be harmful to a range of people including those on other medications.

“We clearly have a situation where these unregulated drugs, whose safety is unproven, have been freely available for sale. This is unacceptable. At present these products can be sold until they’re proven dangerous rather than assessing their risk before they’re made available for sale to the public.”

“We commend the work of Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne to curb the risks posed by the herbal drugs market through tougher laws, and agree with statements he has made that it should be the responsibility of manufacturers and suppliers to prove their products are safe before they are sold on the market.”

Dr Ockelford says that those involved in peddling drugs with unsafe substances should be closed down immediately.

“The Government’s plan to place restrictions on the sale and marketing of products that contain synthetic cannabinoids, through proposed amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act, is essential.”