Synthetic cannabis raid on Cloud 9 store in Highgate

POLICE have seized 3639 sachets of a substance believed to be illegal synthetic cannabis from a Highgate smoke store.

Six officers from Perth Detectives raided Cloud 9 Smoke Shop at 8.45am last Wednesday and found items with an estimated retail value of $218,000-$473,000.

Perth Police Station Acting Senior Sergeant Nicole Winstone said members of the public had provided information to police, leading them to believe the store may have been selling banned substances.

“The substance was not on the shelves but it was certainly on the premises,” Sgt Winstone said.

“Legislation came in for a reason, to protect the community.

“If community members become aware of sale of illegal substances, they need to come forward.”

Sgt Winstone said the substance was being tested but no charges had been laid yesterday.

The Misuse of Drugs Amendment (Psychoactive Substances) Bill 2015, passed in October last year, outlawed substances claiming to have a psychoactive effect.

The law covered loopholes in previous legislation that allowed variations of synthetic cannabis.

Under the new law, people found to have been selling a psychoactive substance could face a maximum penalty of a $48,000 fine and four years in jail.

National Drug Research Institute director Steve Allsop said some people thought synthetic cannabis was safe because it was not previously covered by legislation but this was untrue.

“We don’t always know what’s in these products and there is very poor evidence of the short term effects, let alone the long term effects,” Professor Allsop said.

“Some people think it’s worth the risk but the reality is we don’t know what this stuff does or what’s in it.”

City of Vincent chief executive Len Kosova said council had “very little” jurisdiction if a retailer was found to be selling illegal substances.

“Certain goods or substances are usually prohibited for sale under State legislation that the City isn’t responsible for enforcing,” Mr Kosova said.

Attempts by Guardian Express to contact Cloud 9 management were unsuccessful.