Psychoactive Substances Bill summary

Psychoactive Substances Bill summary

In the Queen’s Speech on 27 May 2015, the government announced that:

new legislation will … ban the new generation of psychoactive drugs.

The Psychoactive Substances Bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 28 May. The bill will apply across the UK.

The Psychoactive Substances Bill began committee stage, line by line scrutiny, in the Lords on Tuesday 23 June. Members of the Lords spoke in detail about a number of areas of the bill, they began by asking whether there should be a review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, this proposed change to the bill went to a vote with 98 for and 316 against, so the change was not made.

The bill will:

  • make it an offence to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, import or export psychoactive substances; that is, any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect. The maximum sentence will be 7 years’ imprisonment
  • exclude legitimate substances, such as food, alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, caffeine and medical products, from the scope of the offence, as well as controlled drugs, which will continue to be regulated by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
  • exempt specific persons from certain offences under the bill, such as healthcare professionals, who may have a legitimate need to use NPS in their work
  • include provision for civil sanctions – prohibition notices, premises notices, prohibition orders and premises orders (breach of the two orders will be a criminal offence) – to enable the police and local authorities to adopt a graded response to the supply of NPS in appropriate cases
  • provide powers to stop and search persons, vehicles and vessels, enter and search premises in accordance with a warrant, and to seize and destroy psychoactive substances.

Check this site for updates on this new legislation.