How New Zealand laws contributed to a synthetic drug crisis

Good legislation gone bad
Vice (New Zealand)
Monday, February 21, 2018

Had things gone another way, the Psychoactive Substances Act (PSA) might be the grand pillar of Peter Dunne’s parliamentary legacy, a test case for the world to watch. Unfortunately for Dunne, as it stands, the act sits on the books basically unused, while New Zealanders continue to die from one of the drugs the act was designed to protect them from: synthetic cannabinoids. Dunne proposed the basic tenet of the PSA: instead of the government finding each of these basically endless combinations illegal after they had entered the black market, producers that could prove the safety of their product could be granted a license to sell them legally. That testing would have to be to the same standard as regular pharmaceutical products, the cost of which—estimated at about a million dollars per product—would be borne entirely by the applicant.