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The reformers meet in Auckland this month to discuss the Psychoactive Substances Act and advocate further drug reform.
The act offers a world-first scientific and health-oriented approach to legal highs. The British Government was reportedly looking to New Zealand as a positive model.
Speaker Rick Doblin, a long-time drug advocate and founder of the US-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, said it was a basic right that people be able to access their own states of consciousness.
”While these are substances which people use for recreation, they also use them for spirituality,” he said. I hope we learn in the United States that we should focus on reduction of harm and purity of drugs.”
Many were looking to New Zealand as a pioneer after the enactment of the act last year, Star Trust general manager Grant Hall said.
A key part of the new legislation has been the ability to remove products from the market that cause harm. Five have already been removed.
Before the act came into force about 200 legal high products were sold from 4000 outlets throughout the country to people of all ages. This has dropped to 47 products sold from 170 outlets and it’s now illegal to sell or give these products to anyone under 18.
Hall said regulation meant there would be a minimal black market for the drugs and that many substances would be safer than alcohol and tobacco.