The State Government has banned synthetic cannabinoids contained in products such as Kronic, Kalma, Voodoo, Kaos and Mango Kush after an extensive investigation by key Government agencies into the harmful effects of these drugs.
Mental Health Minister Helen Morton was joined by Health Minister Kim Hames today to reveal an investigation undertaken by the Drug and Alcohol Office, WA Police, the Department of Health and the ChemCentre found there was sufficient evidence of harm to ban synthetic cannabinoids.
“These products, commonly sold as incense and often labelled as ‘not for human consumption’ are being smoked by people seeking effects similar to those of cannabis and these people are placing their health at risk,” Mrs Morton said.
“I am satisfied by expert advice that there is sufficient evidence of harm to people smoking these drugs that warrants banning their availability and supply.”
Mrs Morton said once banned, these synthetic cannabinoids would become illicit products and anyone caught with them could be charged for possession, selling, supplying or intent to sell or supply.
“People now have four days to safely dispose of products containing these chemicals before they are added to the Poisons Act 1964 on Friday, June 17 and become illegal,” she said.
“In the meantime, retailers of synthetic cannabinoids and their customers should consider themselves warned and immediately take steps to dispose of these substances safely and responsibly.”
Police Minister Rob Johnson has advised every police station in WA can receive Kronic and any other synthetic cannabinoids from now until Friday to ensure safe disposal.
Dr Hames said he had instructed the Department of Health to progress listing these chemicals as banned substances under the Poisons Act. To complement this WA Police would make subsequent changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act.
“Testing by the ChemCentre showed products such as Kronic contained chemicals known as synthetic cannabinoids, which may produce similar effects to cannabis and can raise heart rate, blood pressure and cause anxiety and hallucinations,” he said.
Mrs Morton said she was aware that some people would continue to try to develop new designer drugs to bypass existing laws and to sell for the intoxication of others.
“I recognise that banning these substances in WA is only part of the solution and the State Government will also be contributing towards a national response in dealing with synthetic cannabinoids, and other synthetic substances that may pose a public health risk,” she said.
“The relevant agencies will continue to work closely together to rapidly identify and respond to these trends and to address other drug misuse issues.”
Mrs Morton said she was comfortable with the time taken to investigate the ban on synthetic cannabinoids in WA, welcoming the thorough public debate on the issue which has clearly identified support for a ban.