New Zealand Law Society - Third reading for Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill

Third reading for Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill

This article is over 3 years old. More recent information on this subject may exist.

The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill had its third reading on 7 August 2019. Health Minister David Clark is in charge of the bill. The bill amends the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.  It comes into force on the day after it receives the Royal assent.

This bill is an omnibus bill, introduced in accordance with Standing Order 263. It reclassifies AMB-FUBINACA and 5F-ADB as Class A drugs, affirms the existing discretion to prosecute for possession and use of all drugs, and enables temporary drug class orders to be issued for emerging and potentially harmful substances.

Part 1, clause 4 amends section 2 (Interpretation) to include temporary class drug which means any substance, preparation, mixture, or article specified as a temporary class drug by an order made under section 4C.

Clause 5 inserts new sections 4C to 4G and provides for temporary class drug orders. The temporary orders would allow for a quick response to a rapidly adapting synthetic drug market, as substances could instantly be treated as Class C controlled drugs.

Clause 6 amends section 7 (Possession and use of controlled drugs).

Clause 7 amends Schedule 1 inserting the drugs:

5F-ADB: Methyl (2S)-2-{[1-(5-fluoropentyl)-1H-indazole-3-carbonyl]amino}-3,3-dimethylbutanoate

AMB-FUBINACA: Methyl (2S)-2-({1-[(4-fluorophenyl)methyl]-1H-indazole-3-carbonyl}amino)-3-methylbutanoate

Part 2 amends the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013.

Police Minister Stuart Nash says fear of prosecution can deter people from seeking help to deal with addiction issues.

"This Bill reaffirms in law the existing Police discretion about when to prosecute and explicitly requires consideration of whether a health-centred or therapeutic approach would be more beneficial," he says.

“Prosecutions for drug possession will be decided on each individual case and when appropriate Police will still prosecute people for personal possession and use.”