There are a number of illegal activities related to drugs that are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. These offences are detailed below - more information of the offence can be accessed by clicking on the relevant heading.
It is unlawful to have a controlled drug in your possession unless you have authorisation in the form of a licence, for example a prescription, or if you did not know the substance was a controlled drug.
Elements to be proven
- The substance is in the possession or under the control of the individual.
- The substance must be in an individual’s physical custody or under their control. This can include being at the property of someone who is not present but has control over that property.
- The individual knows the ‘thing exists’.
Essentially, a person must know of the existence of the substance and they must know that the substance is a controlled drug.
It is an offence for a person to have a controlled drug in his possession, whether lawfully or not, with the intent to supply it to another who has no legal right to possess it.
Supply is the simple act of passing a controlled drug from one person to another, it does not matter if it was for profit or not. The issue of financial gain is only relevant for the purposes of sentencing.
There are several offences connected with the supply of drugs. The main offences are:
- Actual supply
- Offer to supply
- Being concerned in supply
- Aggravated supply
- Possession with intent to supply
The two main production offences are:
- Production of a controlled drug
- Being concerned in the production of a controlled drug
Production is defined as ‘manufacturing, cultivating or production by any other method’. For example, separating those parts of the cannabis plant which are not usable from those which are, is considered preparation and, therefore, can amount to the offence of production.
It is unlawful to cultivate any part of a cannabis plant. It is not an offence to supply or possess cannabis seeds, but any action which germinates or cultivates them is an offence.
A person can only be charged with cultivation or production, rather than both offences together.
Importation & Exportation of controlled drugs (Section 3 Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 & Section 170 Customs & Excise Management Act 1979)
The importation or exportation of any controlled drug is prohibited unless it is done in accordance with the terms of a licence granted by the Secretary of State and in compliance with any conditions attached to the licence.
Schedule 4 (ii) drugs (e.g. steroids) can be imported or exported provided that they are in a medicinal form, for personal use and carried in or out of the country by the person intending to use them.
Section 8 of the MDA controls the consumption (of certain controlled drugs), production and supply of controlled drugs on premises. This section creates a criminal liability for occupiers or managers who allow their premises to be used for certain drug related activities.
The government are able to make a legal high a controlled substance using what is called a Temporary Control Drug Order (TCDO).
Once a legal high has been banned with a TCDO, importing, exporting, producing and supplying it is then illegal. Possession of a drug that is temporarily controlled is not illegal, but police can take away and destroy any drugs that they find on you.