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Drug laws and licensing

Other drug laws

Drug legislation since 1968.

Medicines Act 1968

This law governs the manufacture and supply of medicine. There are three categories:

  • Prescription Only drugs can be sold by a pharmacist if prescribed by a doctor
  • Pharmacy medicines may be sold by a pharmacist without prescription
  • General sales list medicines may be sold without a prescription in any shop

Possession of Prescription Only medicines without a prescription is a serious offence. Drugs such as amyl nitrite, GHB and ketamine are regulated under the Medicines Act.

Road Traffic Act 1972

  • Makes it an offence to drive while under the influence of drugs and drink.
  • Drugs include illegal and prescribed substances.
  • Causing death by dangerous driving could lead to a long prison sentence and an unlimited fine.

Customs and Excise Management Act 1979

In conjunction with the Misuse of Drugs Act:

  • Makes it illegal to import or export controlled drugs without authorisation.
  • A successful conviction leads to the same penalties as under the Misuse of Drugs Act, although the fines can be more substantial, based on the value of the drugs seized.

Licensing Act 1964

Is the main piece of legislation relating to the sale and supply of alcohol.

  • It sets down the times alcohol may be served and who it may be served to.
  • The act makes it illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 18 (with some exceptions).

Cigarette Lighter Refill (Safety) Regulations 1999

Is an amendment to the Consumer Protection Act 1987.

  • It makes it a illegal to supply gas cigarette lighter refills to anyone under the age of 18.
  • Retailers could face a hefty fine or a prison sentence.

Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985

  • Makes it an offence for a retailer to sell solvents to anyone under the age of 18, knowing that they are being purchased to be abused.
  • It doesn't make it illegal to own or buy solvents.

Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991

  • Along with the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, makes it illegal to sell tobacco products, which includes cigarettes, to people under the age of 16.
  • It also makes it mandatory to display warning signs.

Drug Trafficking Act 1994

  • Gives police the power to seize the assets and income of anyone who is found guilty of drugs trafficking, even if that income isn't related to the trafficking of drugs.
  • It also makes it illegal to manufacture of sell equipment for the preparation or use of controlled drugs.

Full text of the act is (new window) on the Office of Public Sector Information

Crime and Disorder Act 1998

  • Makes it legal to force offenders who are convicted of crime committed in order to fund their drug habit into getting drug treatment.
  • It also allows for them to be tested for drug misuse.

Full text of the act (new window) is on the Office of Public Sector Information

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