Synthetic cannabis ban

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A NEW Commonwealth Law, in effect today, will see products containing synthetic cannabis banned from shopping shelves.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration announced today measures to ban a range of synthetic cannabinoids (synthetic cannabis) under Commonwealth law. Synthetic cannabis can be found in product with brand names such as Kronic, Northern Lights, Kaos, Karma, Spice, Mango and Voodoo.

The products typically contain dried herbs that are sprayed with the synthetic compounds and consumed or smoked for their cannabis-like effects.

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly said the ACT will automatically adopt this ban under local medicines law, and as such, it will be illegal to manufacture, obtain, possess, sell, supply or use products containing synthetic cannabis compounds in the ACT.

Synthetic cannabis can pose a public health risk, and like natural cannabis, can cause memory and thinking impairment in small doses.

In heavy doses and regular use, synthetic cannabis can cause hallucinations, confusion and mental health problems such as anxiety or psychosis.

“In response to the announcement from the TGA on July 6, the ACT Government has put plans in place to ensure that people in possession of synthetic cannabis products immediately following the ban will not be at risk of penalties,” Dr Kelly said.

“The ACT Government has arranged to have an amnesty enacted until August 1,  2011. During this time people will not be prosecuted for offences relating to these products which would otherwise apply following the ban by the TGA.

“During the amnesty period, retailers and consumers in possession of known or suspected synthetic cannabis products may anonymously hand these substances in at their local ACT police station for safe disposal, without fear of prosecution.

“Despite this amnesty, retailers and their customers are advised not to sell or use these products in light of the ban and their potential risk to health.”

For more information visit www.health.act.gov.au/healthalerts

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