Partygoers have drugs tested

Nelson Mail, 1 January 2002

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Pro-cannabis campaigners at the Gathering dance party say they do not promote the use of harder drugs, but for $5 they will test partygoers' tablets.

Dave Moore, president of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, said that quite a few people had come to them to try their "E- testing" service which checks for the presence of ecstasy, speed and other drugs.

"We had quite a crowd when we first opened."

A small sample of a partygoers' drug is added to a chemical to give a colour indicating the presence of various substances. Mr Moore said the predominant drug found was ecstasy, and no speed had showed up.

"People buy the stuff and are not really sure what it is. It allays any fears they have," Mr Moore said. "It's about peace of mind. We (the party) are not into hard drugs, and it just happened that someone asked us to do it (the test) for them."

Mr Moore said he did not think a high proportion of Gatherers were using drugs, although the smell of cannabis is common around the various dance zones.

"We recommend that people do not use ecstasy more than two or three times a year. If they are going to use it both nights (of the Gathering), they should seriously think about not using it for a few months," Mr Moore said. "The problem with prohibition is that people don't know what they are taking. There are no standards."

Mr Moore said the party was primarily at the Gathering to push its pro-cannabis message, and "we're just waving the flag and having a dance". The party was selling legal herbs which had similar effects to cannabis or speed, he said, but they had not been selling well.

Despite police saying they would have a stronger presence at the Gathering this year, there was no obvious visible presence yesterday or this morning.


Caption: Photo PATRICK HAMILTON 20140 Dave Moore of Wellington tests ecstasy for strength at the Gathering overnight.

Dave Williams, Nelson Mail, 1 January 2002

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