By Eric Crampton 23/03/2018 2


Legal markets for marijuana and ecstasy and the safer party pills, where products were subject to the Consumer Guarantees Act and where producers adulterating products would be punished, would stop Fentanyl-laced drugs at concerts and would be far more effective than ramping up punishments for producers of synthetic drugs.

National pushing for increased penalties on this one is a travesty. They tried, with Peter Dunne, to set up a legal highs regime that could have reduced harm, then buckled under pressure. Now, for what seems like the sake of getting a trivial win by carving NZ First away from Labour on a vote Labour won’t care about, they’re further wrecking the prior regime rather than trying to fix anything.

Blaise Drinkwater provides an excellent summary of the stupidity of National’s bill upping penalties on synthetic cannabis. At least some National MPs will have figured this out. That they are supporting it anyway is not good.

Just about every political party has disgusted me this week, and we still have two days left.


2 Responses to “Opinion: Eric Crampton on the Psychoactive Substances Amendment Bill”

  • Consumer Guarantees Act? NO, while the CGA covers goods and services, including those provided by health providers active substances whether used as medicines or otherwise are not and cannot be covered by this because they hold inherent risk that needs to be managed in some way. That’s on top of that it does not cover products and services bought privately as in this type of trade. That’s a huge fail.

    Also the point of the bill is simply to amend section 70 and this is not about those that might use the substance but about those that would sell them uncaring of the risk, which includes the death that spurred the bill creating a higher penalty because obviously the existing penalty is not enough an deterrent:

    70 Offences relating to psychoactive substance that is not approved product
    (1) A person commits an offence if the person, without reasonable excuse,—
    (a) sells or supplies a psychoactive substance that is not an approved product to any person; or
    (b) offers to sell or supply a psychoactive substance that is not an approved product to any person; or
    (c) possesses a psychoactive substance that is not an approved product with the intent to sell or supply the psychoactive substance to any person.

    That person quoted completely misses the point, I suppose they could increase the importation time but that doesn’t and won’t stop anyone knowingly selling an potentially dangerous substance. Nor does this address the fact that a person sentenced to more than 2 years is eligible for parole after 1/3 served so this changes it to about 2 years and 6 months in practice if it goes to eight years. It’s also ignored a review may well not take into account penalties as review would go to how well the law is working, Also that a review is built in doesn’t mean that the act cannot be subject to amendment at any point.

    And they say “Dangerous psychoactives are sold on the black market mainly because the regulated market for less dangerous ones, provided for in the PSA, does not exist.” but that is precisely because they cannot prove them to be safe and not dangerous for users. I’d expect a bit more logic than that if they are claiming to critique this.

  • They can’t be proven safe because evidence generated from animal testing cannot be considered, because the Greens and John Banks screwed that up. People can and do sell illegal dangerous stuff – agree no barrier to doing that.

    Increasing the penalties on sale is a bit pointless without letting the legal market function. It’s just ramping up more of the same prohibition regime that continues to fail.