What is the law in the UK in relation to legal highs?

What is meant by a legal high?

A legal high is a synthetic mixture produced purposefully to give a similar effect to that of illegal drugs. In most cases they are often produced in order to give the same affects as ecstasy, cocaine or cannabis.

Legal highs are as the name suggests legal under UK Law and therefore can be freely bought over the internet with all that is required is a credit card. As a consequence of this they have become ready available to young people throughout the UK. The UK has now become the largest producer of legal highs within the European Union with many sold in shops throughout the country as well as over the internet.

This has sparked significant concerns within the UK Government in relation to the health and safety of young people.

What is the current law in relation to drugs in the UK?

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 controlled substances are split into the following three categories:

  1. Class A
  2. Class B
  3. Class C
Class A is the most serious and carries with it the most stringent penalties.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 you will be liable for a criminal offence if you have committed any of the following acts:

  • You are found to be in possession of a controlled substance
  • You are found to be supplying a controlled substance
  • You are found to be in possession with intent to supply
  • You are found to be producing a controlled substance

So what is the position in relation to legal highs which have been seen to cause harm?

In the summer of 2009 legal highs such as GBL and BZP were classified by the Home Office as being Class C controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Furthermore a smoking substance which was used as a substitute for marijuana called Spice was classed as a Class B controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

What is BZP?

BZP is a drug which has effects similar to those of ecstasy which is commonly known as “Benny”. This was originally a worming treatment for cattle and was marketed as such until the trade of it and possession of it was outlawed in the UK.

What are the consequences if I come into possession of these drugs?

As the above drugs have now become controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act the following penalties will ensue:

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For more information on:

  • BZP or GBL (Class C)
  • Spice (Class B)
  • What happens to the market once these high’s become illegal?
  • So what is the problem with Mephedrone?
  • What does the UK Government plan to do in relation to Mephedrone?
  • Is mephedrone legal in all countries?
  • What are the legal problems with legal highs?
  • What are the other possibilities for the UK Government?