AAP (Australia); NZ HERALD, RADIO NEW ZEALAND, SCOOP (New Zealand)
WELLINGTON - Parliament on Tuesday approved a measure that would make New Zealand the first country to legalize synthetic drugs, otherwise known as party pills. If it gains final approval later this year, the Psychoactive Substances Bill would create a system to test and approval certain mind-altering drugs.
This bill, reports the Scoop Media website, would allow for the sale and consumption of synthetic drugs that have been proven to be safe and meet manufacturing requirements. Prison sentences of eight years will be imposed on those selling drugs that are not legally approved.
The application fee for the clinical trials for all companies seeking approval of their products will cost more than $150,000, and testing could run up to $1.7 million, says the NZ Herald.
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said in March that most countries have tried prohibiting synthetic highs, but soon all faced the same problem of new variations quickly returning to the market, reports the AAP. "There is a game of cat and mouse where an irresponsible industry seeks to elude authorities and circumvent the law by bringing new chemicals to a lucrative market."
New Zealand Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell called for a ban on advertising, as well as requirements of “unsexy packaging.” He said that plain packaging should be introduced as part of the legislation to prevent legal battles with the industry in the future.
In order to prove that these drugs are safe, they must be tested. Dunne says whether it will be on animals or not was still to be decided, according to the Herald. He did, however, rule out “the controversial” lethal dose 50% (LD50) test, where increasing doses of a tested drug are given to a sample group of animals until half of them die.
A final vote on the legislation is slated for August.