Police raid Karratha shop

Peter de KruijffPilbara News
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Police raided a Karratha shop last Tuesday and seized what they believe to be synthetic cannabis which was allegedly being sold to the public.

Detective Senior Sergeant Jon Munday said the seized material had been sent to Perth for analysis, but charges would not be preferred until the results came back.

"Synthetic cannabis is something that seems to be thought of as a non-harmful high, but obviously the legislators have made it illegal," he said.

"We've seen a number of people with adverse medical reactions as a result of smoking synthetic cannabis so we won't tolerate it being sold in the community.

"Possession with intent to sell or supply can be 20 years prison."

Det. Sen. Sgt Munday said much synthetic cannabis was marketed as an herbal tea or potpourri not fit for human consumption.

The State and Federal Governments have been playing catch-up when it comes to the laws banning synthetic cannabis and other drugs.

While synthetic cannabinoids are in fact banned in WA, slight changes in the chemical structure of a synthetic drug has meant those manufacturing the drug can bring out a new product that is technically legal until the State identifies the new drug and places it on a banned list.

Last month a new amendment was made to Federal Crime Legislation putting a ban on all psychoactive substances being imported into Australia with exceptions for approved substances.

WA Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said as a range of synthetic drugs continued to emerge at a rapid rate new legislation was being drafted and was expected to be considered by Parliament in the first half of 2015.

"This draft legislation proposes explicitly banning the sale, supply, manufacture, advertising and promotion of any psychoactive substance or a substance claiming to have a psychoactive effect, unless it is already approved for other purposes such as medical," she said.

"I am hoping to table the legislation during the autumn sitting of Parliament."

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