Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ban Ze Pills

I've just settled into the office after attending a press conference in Jim Anderton's office where he advised that BZP will be banned. BZP products are to classified as a Class C1 substance, putting it in the same league as other moderately harmful drugs such as cannabis, coca and khat. Around the country, organised crime must be rejoicing that Jim Anderton has thrown them a new revenue stream to play in.

Jim Anderton thought he was being magnanimous that he wasn't using the Order in Council process to illegalise BZP, a process which involves gazetting the policy for 28 days before ordaining it as law. Instead, an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act will be put through the select committee which should allow for public submissions on the matter.

More worrying is the prospect of a re-write of the Misuse of Drugs Act. I've been hassling for this for a while, but with the illogical rationale to ban BZP as an example, a re-write at this stage bodes ill for the harm minimisation strategy. For example, the reversal of the burden of proof on supplement manufacturers:
"It is likely that new products with an unknown chemical composition will be introduced to replace BZP. As part of the MODA review, a legislative framework will be considered that places the onus of proof on the sponsor of a new substance that is to be marketed as inducing a psychoactive response, to establish the safety of the substance before it can be sold in New Zealand."
The upshot of this reversal of proof will be that more substances will go straight to the black market without passing any quality control standards whatsoever. That, or more substances will pass through as foods, such as poppy seeds, to avoid such a throttling policy.