Two Canterbury Dairies caught selling K2 to underage volunteer

Thursday May 9, 2013

A controlled purchase operation held in Christchurch yesterday saw two dairies sell the synthetic cannabinoid K2 to a 17-year-old.
The legal age for buying synthetic cannabinoid products such as K2 is 18.
Seven of the nine retailers visited correctly asked the 17-year old volunteer for identification and then refused to sell K2. The two offending retailers could be liable for fines of up to $1,000.
The controlled purchase operation was a combined effort between the Police and Community and Public Health (a division of the Canterbury District Health Board).
Sergeant Bevan Seal of Christchurch Police says that the sale of synthetic cannabinoids is destroying lives and communities.
“Every day Police see first-hand the damage synthetic cannabinoids are causing in our community and it's particularly alarming to see the impact it's having on those under 18,” he says.
“The Police and the CDHB work closely with retailers to educate them on the law. We were encouraged that some dairies took on board that it is an offence to sell to youth under 18 years but we're really disappointed that despite our efforts some retailers continue to put profits before people.
“It's illegal to discount the price of synthetic cannabinoids but in an effort to clear their stock of the soon to be banned K2 product one of the diaries visited yesterday offered our young volunteer two packets for $25. The offending retailer is likely to face an additional penalty," says Sergeant Seal.
He says that while two of the active ingredients in K2 will be banned from tomorrow, some synthetic cannabinoids will still be available.
“Police and CDHB staff will continue to visit dairies and other retailers to remind them of their legal obligations and to raise awareness of the potential harm the products cause."
Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says that retailers who sell products that are harmful to health need to take their responsibilities very seriously and not put lives at risk in pursuit of profit.
“Synthetic cannabinoids such as K2 can have long term effects on people's physical and mental health. There is a potential for severe and permanent toxic injury with smoked or ingested synthetic cannabinoid drugs,” he says.
“Adverse side-effects have included anxiety, vomiting, chest pain and headache. As well as the recent cases of kidney failure other severe side-effects include seizures, psychosis and heart attack.”
Dr Humphrey says that the results of this controlled purchase operation, and two operations last week which saw tobacco being sold to a sixteen year old volunteer at five of the 17 retailers visited, suggests that many retailers aren't taking the sale of tobacco and synthetic cannabinoids to minors seriously.
“We will continue our work to educate retailers on the their responsibilities, and will carry out further monitoring checks across Canterbury to make sure retailers obey the law,” says Dr Humphrey.

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Page last reviewed: 09 July 2013