Synthetic drugs off Albury shelves

A BAN on synthetic drugs in NSW has forced Albury traders to take the substances off the shelf.

Fair trading officers visited four businesses on Tuesday, including adult shop Club X, as part of a state-wide crackdown after the NSW government announced a 90-day interim ban on synthetic drugs on Sunday.

Retailers who sell any of the 18 banned synthetic drugs that mimic the effects of cannabis, cocaine and hallucinogens face fines of up to $1.1 million.

A Fair Trading spokeswoman said none of the four Albury businesses had banned substances on display for sale.

The Border Mail visited Club X in Lavington on Tuesday morning but its manager said she could not comment and directed inquiries to the store’s Melbourne head office, which did not return phone calls.

But the store, which only sells synthetic cannabis and not synthetic amphetamine, had all of its substances off the shelf following the ban, including the substances not included in the list of banned products.

An Albury man in his 20s came into the store at the time and asked for “smoke” and was told by the manager “no smoke until I’ve figured out the legislation”.

The man, who did not want to be named, said he had smoked Atomic Bomb Nuclear, a synthetic cannabis, once a fortnight for the past six months.

He said he smoked it because it was legal, does not come up in workplace testing and it helped him to relax with friends.

“I sit around with a few mates watching the footy and have a few joints,” he said.

He said the ban did not concern him and he could do without it.

“I’m not going to go breaking into people’s sheds looking for pot plants,” he said.

He said he started smoking it after reading reports in the media about its negative effects.

“There was a big hype on the news about it being banned and we thought we’d better try it before it got banned,” he said.

The interim ban was put in place after the death of a Sydney teenager who took synthetic LSD.

Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts is seeking a permanent ban.

On the other side of the border, traders can still sell and display substances but the Victorian government said it would work with the federal government on the possibility of a ban.

Despite the lack of a ban in Victoria, adult shop Erotic Nights was forced to remove synthetic cocaine White Bull from the shelves of eight stores last Friday, including its High Street outlet, after The Border Mail revealed it contained an illegal stimulant called MDPV.

Fair Trading officers have visited 610 shops in NSW so far and found 41 retailers still had product on sale or in stock.

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