Crackdown on ‘legal highs’

Councillor Fairweather
Councillor Fairweather

Angus councillors have unanimously agreed that enough is enough with regard to ‘legal highs’ premises in the county.

At Thursday’s meeting of full council, Arbroath councillor David Fairweather put forward a motion in which he requested that the chief executive write to both Westminster and Holyrood seeking clarification on how the council can either licence this type of premises or decide what they can do about the substances they are selling.

He achieved his first aim, which was to get all 29 Angus councillors working together, as his motion was approved unanimously.

Another local councillor, Donald Morrison, was one of those who spoke in favour of Councillor Fairweather’s motion.

He said: “We have seen the closure of two ‘Head Shops’ so far, one in Forfar and last weekend, one in Arbroath. But there are still two left, one in Montrose and another in Arbroath.

“So how can we collectively ensure these shops do not remain open and don’t spring up elsewhere? After working with our legal and trading standards officers for nearly a year now, this is proving a tough nut to crack. That is why we also need the help from both the UK and Scottish Governments. It is all very well talking, but doing is so much better.”

He continued: “The police who have been using what legislation they have their disposal need stronger powers and a good start would be to revamp the UK’s Misuse of Drugs Act.

“But what can the council do just now? We need to keep on educating parents, children and the wider public. Another option for the council is to introduce a licensing policy or bye-law which prohibits the sale of ‘legal highs’.

“But with reports of side effects such as mental health, poisoning, and an increase in deaths, the action group led by the Rev. Martin Fair have to continue their fight in getting rid of these shops from our High Streets and this is why I fully support this motion.”

Councillor Fairweather added on Friday that since the meeting he has been contacted by Fife Councillor Ian Sloan who has asked for information about ‘legal highs’ and how to go about combatting the problem.

He explained that Fife currently has two ‘Head Shops’ and they also want to address the issue.