This week, New Zealand takes emergency measures to backtrack on their psychoactive substance regulation which allowed 41 products to remain on sale.
6th May 2014
New Zealand Health Minister Tony Ryall has welcomed Parliament’s support for the Psychoactive Substances Amendment Act, passed today under urgency by New Zealand parliament.
The Act, expected to receive Royal assent on Wednesday and become law on Thursday 8 May 2014, removes all remaining psychoactive products on the New Zealand market. It also bans the use of animal testing data in support of product approvals.
“When the Psychoactive Substances Act was passed last year, some products were allowed to stay on the market,” says Ryall.
“The amendment means all interim retail and wholesale licences will be cancelled and all psychoactive products given interim approval will be removed from sale. It will also become illegal to possess and supply the products.
“While animal testing remains a necessary and important component of the process for developing a number of important products, such as medicines, the government does not believe that such testing was justifiable for the recreational drug market.
“The intent of the original Psychoactive Substances Act remains with approved low risk products able to come to market in the future when regulations are made,” Ryall said.
All psychoactive products will become unapproved from Thursday and it will be an offence to possess, supply or sell them. Those in possession of products are advised to return them to the retailer they purchased them from. (national.org.nz)
EURAD Commentary: What’s the impact on the EU?
At the moment the Council of the European Union is considering an update to the existing EU instrument to tackle new psychoactive substances. Some groups have lobbied for an approach very similar to the New Zealand model, whereas other organisations such as EURAD have asked for the EU response to include a precautionary approach, including the use of temporary banning orders, in order to restrict potentially dangerous substances from the market. Although the EU’s proposed regulation was given strong backing by the European Parliament (507 in favour of the Regulation, 37 against and 33 abstentions) in the last European Parliament plenary before the May 2014 elections, Member States are still in the process of discussing the regulation. One of the issues of concern with the Commission’s proposal has been how to deal with substances where little evidence currently exists to their harms. EURAD supports the European Commission’s aim of reducing the time spent to respond to new pscyhoactive substances and hopes that policy makers can now reflect on the situation unravelling in New Zealand to ensure adequate health protection for EU citizens.