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Misuse of Drugs Act

Solicitor - Misuse of drugs Act - Prosecution - Cannabis et al

Solicitors for Criminal Offences Under the Misuse of Drugs Act

The Misuse of Drugs Act is the legislation covering drugs and their categorisation.

There are three classes of drugs (A, B & C) under the general term drugs offences – which are often referred to as Illegal Drugs. They all carry their own levels of penalty or punishment under the law:

If you are being prosecuted for driving under the influence of a drug then you need this page.

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Penalties for possession and dealing

Penalties are varied and related to the class of drug or substance as follows:

Class A Possession & Dealing

  • Ecstasy
  • heroin
  • LSD
  • cocaine
  • crack
  • magic mushrooms
  • amphetamines (via injection)

Up to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine or both. Up to life in prison or an unlimited fine or both.

Class B Possession & Dealing

  • Cannabis
  • Amphetamines
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
  • Pholcodine

Up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine or both. Up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine or both.

Class C Possession and Dealing

  • Painkillers (certain types)
  • Tranquilisers
  • GHB (Gamma hydroxybutyrate)
  • Ketamine

Up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine or can be both. Up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine or both.

All of the drugs on the list above – whether Class A, B or C – are designated as controlled drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Offences

The Misuse of Drugs Act states that it is an offence to:

  • Unlawfully possess a controlled substance.
  • Possess and/or intend to supply a controlled substance.
  • Offer to supply or supply a controlled substance.
  • Give away a controlled substance (you do not have to be selling a controlled drug to be prosecuted).
  • Allow your house or any building to be used by people taking drugs.

Cannabis

Cannabis is now a Class B substance. It was reclassified from Class C to Class B in 2009.

There are penalties for:

  • Supplying or dealing cannabis.
  • growing or producing.
  • trafficking.

The maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment.

Penalties for possession

The maximum penalty is five years imprisonment.

Adults Found in Possession of Cannabis

An adult caught in possession of cannabis may be arrested. However, the police may:

Issue a warning (generally this is used for first-time offenders).
issue a disorder penalty which carries an on-the-spot fine of £80.

Possession of Cannabis – Youth

A youth, if found to be in possession of cannabis, will normally be arrested and taken to the police station.

  • They may receive
  • A reprimand
  • A final warning
  • Be charged

Which course of action is taken depends upon how serious the offence is.

After a reprimand, any further offences will determine whether a final warning or charge is made.

Further offences will normally result in criminal charges. However, after a final warning has been given, an offender should be referred to a Youth Offending Team. This is in order to ensure the offender attends a rehabilitation programme.

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