Justice chief joins legal high debate

Local SNP MSP Christine Grahame has backed proposed legislation aimed at prosecuting those who sell potentially fatal “legal highs”.

Ms Grahame, convenor of the Holyrood Justice Committee, spoke out after the tragic death of Gorebridge man David Lewis from a white powder stimulant known as “Burst”.

As reported last week in the Advertiser, his parents are calling for a total ban on shopkeepers being able to sell such products known as New Psychoactive Substances or NPS.

Last month, an expert group working for the SNP Government concluded there was a number of legal mechanisms potentially available to tackle the sale and supply of NPS. In the case of some provisions, the group identified weaknesses that limited the effective application of the legal provision.

Ms Grahame said: “I think we must adopt the steer given by the group especially looking to establishing a definition so that legislation can be promoted.

“The difficulty is that many of the legal highs are comprised of common substances mixed together to achieve the desired effect of inducing a ‘high’. As soon as a mix is identified another will be produced. However vendors must be well aware of what they are selling and the purpose it will be used for so there may be a route into prosecution there in the meantime. Education is also key as these drug mixtures are extremely harmful and ultimately can be lethal. I welcome the Government moving to legislate.”

Meanwhile, campaigners in Midlothian have set up a petition calling on the next MP for Midlothian to support the council’s motion calling 
upon the incoming UK government to speed up the process of bringing in new legislation to deal with NPS.

Help ban legal highs by visiting: https://www.change.org/p/the-future-mp-for-midlothian-get-legal-highs-off-dalkeith-high-street.