New Zealand Became First Country in the World to Legally Regulate New Drugs Last Year
Innovative Regulatory System to Control “Bath Salts” and Other “Legal Highs” Passed Parliament with Near-Unanimous Support
On March 20th 2014, New Zealand’s inaugural international drug policy symposium, Pathway to Reform, will be held by the STAR Trust in the New Zealand capital of Auckland. The entire event will be streamed live to a global audience at www.thestartrust.org.
Pathway to Reform will see world leaders, academics, and government officials come together to review and discuss the Psychoactive Substances Act and the global drug policy reform movement. The Psychoactive Substances Act of 2013 is a landmark law that will regulate and control – rather than criminalize – so-called “bath salts” and other new synthetic drugs. The first-of-its-kind law came into effect on July 18, after being approved in Parliament by a 119-1 margin, with the support of seven different political parties from across New Zealand’s political spectrum.
The legislation creates a new government agency, the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority, within the Ministry of Health that will be charged with ensuring that synthetic psychoactive products meet adequate safety standards before going to market. The new regulatory body will also implement and administer a licensing system for potential importers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and researchers.
Due to the recent passing of this Act, the New Zealand government has received international recognition for this innovative policy solution to the global challenge of contemporary drug use.
“Having so many world leaders interested in what we are doing here in New Zealand is a great endorsement of regulation over prohibition,” said Grant Hall, General Manager of The STAR Trust. “If we get this policy right and it delivers on the promise of better public health outcomes, it is quite likely the New Zealand model will be a template for drug policy reform globally.”
The symposium will feature a range of thought leaders – two of the most prominent being Amanda Feilding from the United Kingdom and Ethan Nadelmann from the United States. The symposium will provide an opportunity to discuss the successes and challenges that New Zealand has seen due to the reform – and how it could affect the future of global drug policy.
Ethan Nadelmann is the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. Nadelmann and his colleagues have played pivotal roles in most of the major drug policy reform ballot initiative campaigns in the United States on issues ranging from medical marijuana and marijuana legalization to prison reform, drug treatment and reform of asset forfeiture laws. They also have reformed state and federal laws involving drug sentencing, access to sterile syringes to reduce HIV/AIDS, access to drug treatment, prevention of overdose fatalities, and all aspects of marijuana policy.
Amanda Feilding is the founder of the UN-accredited Beckley Foundation which is exploring ways to develop evidence-based, harm-reducing and cost-effective drug policies that respect human rights. She is a significant figure in the global movement to reform drug policy and continues to push the boundaries of consciousness research. Beckley is engaged in consulting directly with world leaders on drug policy reform. Having already produced over 40 influential books, reports and briefing papers on key policy issues, Amanda is currently writing two books; ‘Illicit Drugs: Reducing Harms Through Regulation’ and ‘Coca, Cocaine & Derivatives: Harm Reduction through Regulation’.
Pathway to Reform
Thursday, 20th March 2014 at The Nathan Club, Auckland CBD
Speakers include: Ethan Nadelmann; Amanda Feilding; Dr Brian Emerson; Fiona Patten; James Dunne; Dt. Insp. Stuart Mills; Hon. Peter Dunne; MP Kevin Hague; MP Iain Lees-Galloway; MP Dr Paul Hutchinson; Colin Craig; Martyn Bradbury; MP Tracey Martin
Follow us on Twitter @TheStarTrust (hashtag #pathway2reform), and link in on Facebook to The STAR Trust. The entire event will be streamed live to a global audience at www.thestartrust.org
The STAR Trust
The STAR Trust is a non-profit, NGO that advocates for regulatory systems which are evidence based and nurture harm minimization, whilst also respecting an individual’s right to access low risk social tonics.
The STAR Trust is funded by private contributions from individuals and industry members committed to drug policy reform and research. The STAR Trust represents the industry and monitors a voluntary code of conduct for responsible operators.