A Napier dairy proprietor says he will try to stop selling legal highs after appreciating community concerns about young people's use of a synthetic cannabinoid said to be available in many shops in Hawke's Bay.
In a brief discussion with Hawke's Bay Today, the Maraenui Dairy operator highlighted problems facing small shops when faced with demands for goods stocked by other businesses.
"It's business," he said, and emphasised problem brand K2 is legal although as a smoking product it cannot be sold to anyone under 18.
He did not want to discuss the matter further but an assistant at another shop that does not stock K2 said customers "ask all the time ... from teenagers, others in the 30s ... you'd be surprised."
Another proprietor, who would not say whether he stocked K2, said lots of shops sold it, with little option while it remained legal.
"I think if it is illegal, then the shops don't sell it," he said.
"Not a problem. Why don't they do that ? Why don't they tell the politicians?"
He compared the situation to the sale of beer and wine, with marts needing liquor licences to sell beer and wine to be able to compete in some way with supermarkets.
Without it, he said, his shop would possibly have to close.
City councillor Maxine Boag, who is leading opposition to the sale of K2 in the Maraenui shopping centre, said last night the opposition seemed to be having some effect.
"Shopkeepers do have a choice," Ms Boag said.
She said people in Maraenui did not want K2 on sale in close proximity and perhaps other areas would follow that lead.
"It does seem it's all over the place," she said.
Ms Boag said when opponents sent in a person under 18, staff challenged their age and requested identification and the teenager left without being served.
She said she had been told yesterday that legislation under consideration which planned to make new products illegal, unless they were proven legal - reversing the current "innocent until proven guilty" situation - was unlikely to be implemented before August. K2 is a follow-on from the now-banned Kronic, with legislation having difficulty keeping up with new substances.