New legislation on ‘legal highs’ that came into force today (May 26) has implications for many convenience stores, the ACS has warned.

The primary purpose of the Psychoactive Substances Act is to stop the sale of items that are commonly known as ‘legal highs’. However, a new guide on the act published by the ACS warns it also has implications for responsible retailers, which in many cases sell potentially psychoactive substances such as butane and solvents.

There are no legal age restrictions on the sale of psychoactive substances but under the new rules, retailers are expected to take reasonable steps to ensure that they are aware of the potential misuse of a psychoactive substance. These steps include:

• be aware of any substances you sell in store that could be psychoactive;

• make sure your staff are trained to be able to identify and assess the risk of the psychoactive substances you sell;

• consider placing warning signs in store to highlight policies to customers and staff; and

• consider policy to restrict the quantity of psychoactive substances being sold, such as using electronic point of sale.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Convenience stores are on the front line preventing the misuse of psychoactive substances and other ‘legal highs’ to consumers. We have worked closely with the Home Office on the development of our guidance which provides clarity for retailers on the steps that they need to take to stay within the law under the new regulations, and what to look out for when serving customers that might be looking to misuse potentially psychoactive products.”