Psychoactive Substances

What are ‘Psychoactive Substances?’

Psychoactive substances are some of the ingredients used in different drugs that affect the mind. You might know such drugs as party pills, herbal highs, legal highs, synthetic cannabis or legal recreational drugs.

In 2013, the New Zealand Government introduced the Psychoactive Substances Act (the Act) to control the importation, manufacture and sale of psychoactive substances in New Zealand.

In 2013 the Act had not been fully implemented. During the establishment phase of the new regime, a number of importers, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers were granted interim licences, and some products were given interim approvals, and were subsequently followed up to see if they were meeting their licence conditions and that their products were not causing adverse reactions.

The interim phase ended with the passing of the Psychoactive Substances Amendment Act 2014 on 8 May, which resulted in all interim product approvals and all wholesale and retail licences being revoked. It also placed a moratorium on processing applications for product approvals and for licences until regulations came into force.

The Amendment Act also introduced a restriction on using trials that involved animal testing to support a product approval application. The Act required all products to be approved by the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority (PRSA or the Authority) with emphasis on safety and quality, and all importers, researchers, manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers to be licenced.

Amendment to the Psychoactive Substances Regulations 2014

The Psychoactive Substances Regulations 2014 were amended on 21 April 2016.  This will allow applications for licences to sell approved products by retail and wholesale (respectively) to be made to the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority.

The Authority website Psychoactive Health advises that, due to the prohibition on the use of animal testing for the purposes of assessing whether a psychoactive substance should be approved, it is unlikely that there will be any approved products for at least the next 3 years.  

Hurunui’s Local Approved Products Policy

The Act does not allow us to have a Local Approved Products Policy (LAPP) that prohibits the sale of psychoactive products within the district, but can provide policy on the location of premises from which approved products may be sold.

The Hurunui District Council LAPP psychoactive substances policy restricts the location of these premises to:

Retail licence applications and sensitive sites

Prospective retail sites must comply with the draft Hurunui District Council LAPP and advise that all applicants should check and make sure their proposed retail site complies before applying for a licence Guidelines and application forms/Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority.