Customs Illegally Seizing Vaporizers in New Zealand

March 22 2020 – Team MindFuel

Customs Illegally Seizing Vaporizers in New Zealand
Customs Illegally Seizing Vaporizers in New Zealand

Ya gotta love our friends the New Zealand customs service. Like seriously, we have a huge amount of respect for the job they carry out, protecting New Zealand's borders from prohibited items such as methamphetamine, bio-weapons, child pornography and publications that are designed to incite hate or terrorism. While no doubt working as hard as they can with the limited funding and resources they have available to them, customs openly admit they only get around 10% of things like methamphetamine that are coming through our borders.

With such a low success rate most people would fairly assume that their limited funds and resources would be dedicated to improving their success with stopping more of the really harmful items coming through New Zealand's borders, such as those items listed above.

Throw the corona-virus into the mix and we can only imagine how utterly stretched they must be. So it came as a huge shock to us that they are currently dedicating a campaign to illegally seizing what are 100% legal aromatherapy and tobacco vaporizers. That's right: New Zealand customs are right now seizing legal vaporizers.

As a leading vaporizer supplier this has cost us thousands of dollars in lost products and sales, created an environmental disaster (these products are destroyed), worked directly against the governments smoke-free 2025 goals by forcing hundreds of vapers back to smoking, worked directly against the Ministry of Health's harm reduction policy by maximizing harm and worked against customs own purpose which is to protect New Zealand's borders and to support and facilitate business instead wasting time, creating unnecessary costs and causing unnecessary stress and loss to multiple small business owner,s, their families and individual consumer's including many med users.

All to prevent access to a harm reduction equipment that is 100% legal to import, buy, sell and use in New Zealand.

Why? Because in customs opinion, a vaporizer is illegal due to it being a cannabis bong or a hash-pipe with a metal or ceramic bowl.

While it is true that New Zealand's draconian and out of date misuse of drugs act does catch bongs and hash-pipes with certain prohibited features including metal or ceramic bowls, classing an aromatherapy or tobacco vaporizer as a cannabis bong or hash-pipe it a bit of a stretch by anyone's imagination.

It's a stretch that would not hold up in court. No Judge with a sharp pencil is going to buy that rubbish. In fact, Phillip Morris has already sued and won the case for the legal importation of tobacco vaporizers. This case sets precedent that all vaporizers are now legal. Therefore the continued seizing of vaporizers by customs is illegal. Not only that, but is unethical, immoral and a huge waste of resources.

Unfortunately the Ministry of Health support Customs on this one.

The Oxford dictionary disagrees. A pipe is defined as a long tube with a bowl at the end that is used for smoking. A bowl is defined as as a container with wide, open top for holding food. Bowl may sometimes be used as a slang term for the detachable cone-piece on a hash-pipe or bong. But a vaporizer does not have a bowl in any way shape or form. Nor any other prohibited pipe or bong features as it is not a pipe or bong. Vapor is defined as a gas. A vaporizer does not produce smoke and can not be used for smoking. A vaporizer is used for the inhalation of legal aromatherapy herbs or tobacco. Also with medicinal cannabis now being legal in New Zealand, this should now make vaporizers also legal for vaping legally prescribed medicinal cannabis products or cannabis bought to New Zealand by those prescribed a one month supply overseas.

With New Zealand about to vote to legalize Cannabis in just a few months we can only assume this ridiculous, illegal harassment and huge waste of taxpayer funding and resources is the result of Government agencies trying to justify their existence and use up their current funding so that they can still claim the same amount next year when cannabis is legal. But this is floored logic. Cannabis legalization is actually going to be a good thing for these agencies as it will free up funds and allow them to dedicate 100% of their resources to what's really important: Protecting New Zealand's border's and reducing the harm caused by smoking. Not trying to force vapers back to smoking.

Have you had your legal aromatherapy or tobacco vaporizer seized and destroyed by customs? If so we would love to hear your experience in the comments below. And fear not, we will keep fighting illegal seizures and continue to supply you with New Zealand's best selection of legal herbal aromatherapy vaporizers, even if its at a bit of a loss for the time being.

References: MODA Cannabis utensils
Customs - Prohibited and restricted Items


  • vape lounge nz: January 28, 2021
    Author's avatar image

    Thanks a lot to you for sharing customs illegally seizing vaporizers in new zealand here, these kind of ideas are much needed. I really appreciate that you have provided the data too, really appreciative and useful blog for us. Looking for more!!

  • Tim: July 15, 2020
    Author's avatar image

    Sorry to read people have had imported vapes taken by customs NZ On an other note I received my imported vape from the usa I guess i’m a lucky one of a few here in nz.

    I didn’t know customs are seizing vaporizers.
    Im sure ill not import anymore until after the vote has given the government to go ahead to legalize the class C herb.

  • HELENSKINZ: April 30, 2020
    Author's avatar image

    Been there done that! A box of Crafty and Mighty Vapes into the furnace. The main issue after that is, IF you get a second Offense Notice which is what you get when they destroy them, you will be in serious trouble so continuing to import vapes suddenly becomes near impossible. This happened to us suddenly after 8 years of no issues. Including the imported vapes that were opened and inspected by customs, they still came through no problem at all. Agree about the Bowls etc, it’s the same argument we had, they just make it up as they go. I’m just reading the latest Law now online, ONLY Medical Grade Vaporizers allowed to be imported now, and they can’t tell you what ones can be imported, FFS! As of April 01, 2020. Link (see bottom of page) >

  • Tante Ria: March 21, 2020
    Author's avatar image

    Thankyou for highlighting this issue. It really sucks for a small company to have these restrictions especially when the products are intended as safer alternatives to smoking etc..
    A year ago I ordered replacement glass attachments for my Arizer Extreme Q. The parcel was seized by Customs and the mouthpiece/wand labeled a “meth pipe” in a sternly written letter. This is quite distressing as a lowkey medical user. I’m too embarrassed to call the number provided in the letter and argue my side and worry it may affect international travel for me.. hope things change with legalization on the horizon but not sure that’ll change rules on importing utensils at all.

  • Team MindFuel: March 16, 2020
    Author's avatar image

    We strongly urge the Ministry of Health to stand up and protect the health of the New Zealand cannabis community by directing customs to stop seizing vaporizers immediately so as to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. No laws need to change, just tell customs to stick to the laws we already have in place.

  • Team MindFuel: March 16, 2020
    Author's avatar image

    re: Kim – Yes, Lithium ion batteries in many models. Not sure how they are destroyed, assume they are burnt. Either way its terrible for the environment.

  • Kim: March 11, 2020
    Author's avatar image

    Hi Team, regarding the destruction of these (as you claim) illegally seized vaporizers – we are talking lithium ion batteries and stuff right? How do they destroy these items? Burning them or adding to the landfill? Thanks.

  • Jesse: March 07, 2020
    Author's avatar image

    Lost my FireFly :(
    Vote YES everyone, let’s end this stupidity.

  • Tim: March 06, 2020
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    This sucks dudes, sorry to hear. Hard to believe its 2020 and this sort of medieval logic continues. Best of luck!

  • Aarav: March 06, 2020
    Author's avatar image

    They seized my Arizer Argo which was sent direct from Arizer Canada. After literally hours of letter writing they released the main battery but insisted on destroying the glass attachments which they claimed were P-pipes, rendering my unit unusable. I am a med user and am now forced to smoke.

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