Psychoactive Substances

December 24, 2018

In 2016 legislation was brought in banning the production, sale, distribution and supply of psychoactive substances. Within that legislation there was a requirement for the government to review the law to measure any changes in outcomes before and after the law was introduced, to see if its aims were being achieved. That review has just taken place.

What challenges have there been to the law?

There have been three main challenges, concerning the medicinal products exemption (unauthorised use of medicinal products) for

  • Nitrous oxide
  • The psychoactivity of nitrous oxide and
  • The psychoactivity of synthetic cannabinoids.

What was decided?

In each case, the Court held that the substances were subject to the provisions of the new Act.

What enforcement has been taken?

There have been around 270 prosecutions under this Act, with about 170 sentences being imposed and 332 retailers have been identified as ceasing sale of psychoactive substances.

Police forces have recorded 1,481 arrests and seizures up to March 2017, so it is clear that the supply of the substances has not been eliminated.

Has the new law had any effect?

The main aim of the Act was to prevent the open sale of psychoactive substances, and this has largely been achieved. There has been a fall in the use of the substances and therefore a reduction in health-related harm.

However there has been an increase in the supply by street dealers, as well as an increase of use in some prison populations and amongst the homeless and there is a continued development of new substances in an aim to avoid the breaking the current law.

What are the penalties?

The maximum penalty for producing, supplying, possessing with intent to supply or importing psychoactive substance is seven years. The maximum penalty for possession of a psychoactive substance in prison is two years.

The Act also introduced penalties used to provide incentives for obedience under this new legislation such asla: prohibition notices, premises notices, prohibition orders and premises orders, with breach of these two orders being a criminal offence.

How Tuckers Solicitors can help you…

To discuss anything to do psychoactive substances please contact us on 020 7388 8333 or email and we will gladly assist.

Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to deliver immediate and expert legal advice and representation.