10 Nov 2011

Forestry industry wants tougher action on synthetic drugs

9:56 am on 10 November 2011

The forestry industry wants the Government to take a tougher stance on drugs that are similar to cannabis in order to reduce workplace injury.

It says people could easily head to work under the influence and there is nothing employers can do about it.

Forest Industry Contractors Association chief executive John Stulen says stronger policy is needed to fight the increased use of the drugs and to support communities trying to get rid of them.

In August, a 12-month temporary ban on the sale of more than 40 products, such as Kronic, was put in place, however it is still legal to possess small quantities.

The ban was enacted because the products were not officially tested before going on the market.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne says the Government is working as quickly as possible to crack down on synthetic drug products.

Mr Dunne says the forestry sector's frustrations could be met by recommendations made by the Law Commission, which says the onus should be on manufacturers to test products before they are sold.

"I would very much like to have been able to implement the Law Commission recommendation immediately. It's a little bit more complex than it first sounds so that wasn't possible," he says.

Mr Dunne says he introduced the temporary ban on sales while a more permament measure is put in place.

He says he thinks that will give the industry the comfort it's seeking.