Controlled drug domestic licences

Companies and individuals need to apply for Home Office domestic licences if they wish to produce, supply or possess controlled drugs. Applications submitted from 15 November 2010 are subject to Fees

What is a controlled drug?

  • Controlled drugs List - updated October 2010
  • Drugs controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation are grouped in schedules. Anyone intending to produce, supply or possess a controlled drug must apply for the relevant schedule licence. Please note, the controlled drug list is not exhaustive, but contains the most commonly used controlled drugs

Licence replacement programme – replacement of open ended licences

Controlled Drug and Precursor Chemical licences issued since 15 November 2010 have been time limited (valid for one year). Fees for the issuing of licenses are charged in line with the Misuse of Drugs (Fees) Regulations 2010.

What is the licence replacement programme?

We will soon begin reviewing the stock of open ended licenses, issued before 15 November 2010 and replacing them with time limited ones.

Why are you doing this?

Replacing the old ‘open ended’ licence stock will enable us to provide a faster, more efficient, self financing, licensing system. Ensuring all licence holders are aligned and hold time-limited licences as opposed to there being a mixture of open-ended and time-limited licences in circulation will provide greater clarity of our process to licensees. It will enable us to provide a better service to licensees and give an indication as to when to expect a compliance visit and plan accordingly for that.

What do I need to do?

All existing licensees holding open-ended licences issued before 15 November 2010 will be required to review their controlled drug and precursor chemical requirements and, if they wish to continue their activities with these substances, will be required to re-apply for a new time-limited licence.

When will this happen?

The Licence Replacement Programme was launched on 31st January 2012. A ‘communication’ phase will run until 5 March 2012.

The Programme will run over one year, in distinct phases according to the year in which the affected open-ended licence was issued:

  • 1st Quarter of Programme   - Licences issued in 2007
  • 2nd Quarter of Programme - Licences issued in 2008
  • 3rd Quarter of Programme   - Licences issued in 2009
  • 4th Quarter of Programme   - Licences issued in 2010, before 15 November 2010 

What will happen in the communication phase?

This phase will run until 5 March 2012.

To date, we have:

We will: 

  • Update our website as and when we have new information to share.

Will I be disadvantaged by this programme and left unable to trade?

No, this is not our intention and we will provide clear information on what you need to do and by when to ensure this does not happen. It is our aim to ensure that the programme runs as quickly and efficiently as possible, with the minimum inconvenience to our license holders.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at the above dedicated email address for further details once you have received the general information letter and read the online FAQ. 

Applying for a domestic licence

  • All Applicants named on the application form must also obtain an enchanced disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). Those applying to alter the conditions of an existing licence will also need to provide a CRB enchanced disclosure for each individual named on the application form.

Guidance on Fees and the application process.

We have produced a guide to explain the various areas of the domestic licence application and fees process. Here you can download the Drug Licensing Handling Fee Guidance.

Industrial Hemp

With effect from the 2012 growing season, we will issue licences to enable the cultivation of low THC varieties of cannabis sativa (industrial hemp) valid for three growing seasons.


Please view the hemp grower's notes and frequently asked questions and MD29 'application form guide' which provides information on the licensing process for low THC cannabis. This information is intended for existing licensees and prospective growers who need to apply.

Licence Forms

  • Company licences - any company or other organisation intending to produce, supply or possess a controlled drug will need a Home Office domestic licence.
  • Doctors licences - doctors need individual Home Office licences to prescribe cocaine, diamorphine and dipipanone to addicts.  

Please note: doctors no longer require handwriting exemptions certificates to issue computer generated prescriptions. 

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