The penalties depend on the type of drug or substance, the amount you have, and whether you’re also dealing or producing it.
Types of drugs
Psychoactive substances include things like nitrous oxide (‘laughing gas’).
Psychoactive substances penalties
*The government can ban new drugs for 1 year under a ‘temporary banning order’ while they decide how the drugs should be classified.
In May 2008, the government announced its decision to reclassify cannabis as a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The government’s decision in 2008 was highly controversial, not least because it rejected the findings of a review by the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) carried out at the request of the Prime Minister.
Cannabis is classified as a class B drug. As such, any person who is caught with cannabis risks up to five years imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both. While being convicted of producing and supplying a Class B drug, risks up to 14 years imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both.
“The Home Secretary listened, and there was a consultation on the evidence-the high-profile cases of Billy Caldwell, Alfie Dingley and Sophia Gibson. They were genuine cases and the Government, for once, did the right thing and did it quickly. No, I do not think they were raising expectations. What has happened is that hopes have been correctly raised, because this offers a lot of hope and benefit to a lot of people, but we have now moved across to implementation and the honest reality is that it is a disaster. It is just not working. The families sitting behind me now should be getting prescriptions, going home and watching their children, hopefully-it might not work for everyone-improving day after day. I do not think it was wrong to raise the expectation: it is wrong not to implement it”. – Peter Carroll, Campaign Director of the group End our Pain, giving evidence to the Commons Health Select Committee, in 2019.
The history of UK cannabis law
Libertarian campaigners also call for a reform in the law on grounds of personal choice and individual freedom.
However, not all Western countries have yet moved in this direction.
What is the law on cannabis in the UK?
Supporters of reform further advocate that up to £300 million a year might be saved in the criminal justice system, across forensics, legal aid, courts, probation and prison costs, should cannabis no longer be controlled substance.
In the Netherlands, the possession, selling and growing of small amounts of cannabis is not subject to prosecution. Small amounts of cannabis (under 5grams) can be sold through licensed ‘coffee shops’.