Petition passed to minister

A 3,250-signature petition against the opening of a ‘legal highs’ shop in Forfar passed on to Scottish ministers after being handed over at Holyrood.

The petition against the shop in North Street was part of an online campaign started by Forfar youth worker and her friends Bobbi Murray and Nikki Leathley, which attracted massive support in just over two weeks. A Facebook page set up to highlight the issue has also been flooded with messages of support.

The petition was presented recently to local MSP Nigel Don, who has now passed it on to Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs.

Mr Don said: “I was pleased to hand the petition over to the minister, and to impress on him the strength of feeling within the community.

“I understand that the Scottish and UK Governments are discussing the options for legislation and I shall be asking the minister for an update after the general election.”

Both Mr Don and Angus South MSP Graeme Dey recently welcomed a temporary ban on five compounds commonly used in the manufacture of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS).

The ban, which was implemented by the UK Government, will be in force for the next year while the Advisory Council on Drugs decides on possible permanent controls.

The Scottish Government, meanwhile, recently established a Ministerial Cross Party Group to examine the issues and challenges of dealing with NPS.

Locally, the move has been welcomed by Councillor Glennis Middleton, social work and health convener.

She said: “In Angus we have been taking a proactive stance by working with a number of agencies and the community to raise awareness of the impact of these so called ‘legal highs’.

“Just because these drugs are touted as legal, does not make them safe.

“We would like to extend an invitation to the ministerial group to visit Angus where we would be delighted to share the work of a number of agencies and the community in discouraging these types of shops to open.”