One4B (1,4 butanediol) appeared on the New Zealand scene in the late 90s, early 2000s. It was imported by Timaru company AlphaWare NZ, who sold it on their website Alphaware.co.nz as Puritech CD cleaner. It was also marketed as a dietary supplement by Auckland company OuterSpace who hosted stalls at the BigDayOut music festival and other events.
Closely related to the already illegal drug Fantasy (GHB), One4B is a pro-drug, a substance that is different to a drug, but that converts into that drug inside the human body via metabolism. While analogues of controlled substances are illegal in New Zealand, pro-drugs are different in chemical structure, so are not caught by the analogues law. Therefore One4B was technically legal. At least say, if one was using it as an industrial solvent or nail polish remover.
Both Alphaware and OuterSpace were sensible about how they marketed One4B, providing an intelligent clientele with a pure product and accurate harm minimization advice. For a brief moment it looked like the MOH was going to allow a psychoactive substance to actually be sold as a dietary supplement. Was harm reduction was going to be finally given a chance?
Serious problems began for Alphaware when people who had OD,d after mixing alcohol with the illicit street drug fantasy, would in paranoia of being busted (prohibition=paranoia) inform police and ambulance staff that they had only consumed legal One4B.
The media whipped up a moral panic and the MOH demanded sellers seize while they investigate the substance. They eventually charged Alphaware with the preparation of an unsafe food substance and won their case. Legal sales of One4B stopped and the product went underground.
One4B was quickly Prohibited. Moral panic ensured law changes were rushed, resulting in the Prohibition of all fantasy type substances, including GABA itself, which is not even active as it fails to cross the blood brain barrier. this makes a mockery of MODA and limits the public from access to a harmless amino acid.
As for legal highs, BZP was already hitting the dance-floors...