Prosecutions follow joint Hamilton synthetic cannabis operation

Tuesday 8 October 2013, 12:33PM

By New Zealand Police


Hamilton Police say businesses and individuals need to realise synthetic
cannabis is assessed as being one problem combined Government agencies are
determined to take action on.

City Licensing Supervisor, Sergeant Jim Kernohan, said the warning follows
the prosecution of two Hamilton businesses and an individual for breaching
the Psychoactive Substances Act over recent days.

"In the first incident members of one of our Public Safety Teams arrested a
35-year-old male sickness beneficiary in Garden Place on Sunday for allegedly
selling synthetic cannabis.

"The man was found with $3000 in $20 notes on him and 65 unmarked packets of
what appears to be synthetic cannabis material which has been sent away for
forensic analysis. He has been charged with selling or supplying a
non-approved psychoactive product and will appear in the Hamilton District
Court on 22 October."

Mr Kernohan said the next day Police officers combined with Waikato District
Health Board officials to conduct a Controlled Purchase Operation (CPO) with
the assistance of a 17-year-old volunteer.

"The CPO was focused on checking the compliance of all of Hamilton's stores
licensed to sell synthetic cannabis under the Psychoactive Substances Act as
well as several premises previously identified by the public through
Crimestoppers as businesses selling these products.

"Two licensed stores in Victoria St failed to ask our volunteer for
identification and sold her synthetic cannabis in breach of Section 49 which
relates to the restriction of selling approved products to persons under 18
years, and face prosecution."

In the case of one of the businesses yesterday's breach of the act was the
second in two months and both agencies involved in yesterday's operation will
be asking the Ministry of Health to review those licences.

"Individuals and businesses should be well aware the public has made it clear
they are not prepared to accept the societal harm linked to the unlawful sale
of synthetic cannabis.

"They have reinforced their concerns with a steady flow of reliable
information both to our agencies and anonymously with Crimestoppers which we
encourage other concerned people to do."