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Synthetic cannabis Bill passes first reading

Luke Hempleman
Synthetic Cannabis
Synthetic Cannabis  Wikimedia Commons

National MP Simeon Brown's Bill to toughen up on suppliers of synthetic drugs passed its first reading in Parliament last night.

The bill proposed increasing the penalty for suppliers of synthetic drugs from a maximum of two years' imprisonment to a maximum of eight years.

Brown said synthetic drugs were wreaking havoc up and down the country.

"I've heard from far too many families who have lost loved ones to synthetic drugs. There were over 20 reported deaths associated with synthetic drugs over the last year - we can't allow this to continue.

"This is targeting those who are causing huge amounts of misery and making money for it. We need to make sure there is punishment which is consistent for the crime that they're committing."

He said he was disappointed in Labour and Green's negative reaction to the bill and thought they were "toeing their party lines" as opposed to saying what they really thought.

The bill will now go to Select Committee where the public can make submissions on it. 

Brown said he was feeling confident and had already received a massive outpouring of support for the bill.

"There's been a petition which has received a lot of support around the country. New Zealanders want us in Parliament to crack down on the offenders and those who are causing the harm.

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