Marijuana laws in the UK and its legal implications

by adrijadey on June 20, 2012

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Ignorance can never be used as a viable defence in the face of the law – so to stay on the right side of the law, it is important to know what you can and can’t do. Understanding the law is particularly important when it comes to drugs. In the UK, as with many other countries, drugs can have their classification changed making it difficult to keep up to date with what is and what isn’t allowed with a certain substance.

Marijuana is one drug that has had its classification changed as recently as this millennium, which has led to some confusion over its status and the laws regarding it. Read on for your guide on the current UK laws on marijuana.

Marijuana

Marijuana comes in many different forms. It is available as hash, weed or skunk. All the different types of marijuana are derived from the same type of plant – a cannabis plant – but they have different appearances and potency. Hash looks like a brown or black lump and is made from the resin of the cannabis plant, while weed is made directly from the plant’s dried leaves. Skunk refers to particularly strong strands of weed and is often imported.

Marijuana also has lots of different names, common monikers include dope, draw, pot and ganja – however, it doesn’t matter which form or which name marijuana goes under, in the UK, it is always illegal.

Classification in the UK

Despite being the most widely used illegal drug in the UK, marijuana is a class B substance. As recently as 2004, marijuana had its classification downgraded to a class C drug. This reduced the possible prison sentence for possession of the drug to 2 years. However, with research suggesting that stronger forms of the drug were becoming more prevalent, this decision was reversed only a year later and marijuana returned to the classification it had held since 1928.

Class B

Being a class B drug means that if you are caught in possession of marijuana you can face a jail term. The maximum custodial sentence for the possession of marijuana is 5 years. However, in general the penalty for possession of marijuana is a warning, if you’re over 18 and it’s your first offence, and a Penalty Notice for Disorder (an £80 on-the-spot fine) for a second offence. Arrest is likely if you are stopped by the police for your third offence, which could lead to a conviction and criminal record. The steps are similar for someone between the ages 10 and 17, although the police would also inform your parents of what has happened and you may be referred to a Youth Offending Team.

It is also against the law to supply cannabis and supplying it can lead to much tougher punishments. For supplying someone with cannabis you can be issued with a 14-year prison sentence and an unlimited fine. You are considered by law to be supplying cannabis even if you share your marijuana out with your friends – you do not have to sell it to be found guilty in a court of law in the UK. If you are ever in trouble for carrying, be sure to be calm, courteous and seek help from a top law firm. Get a free initial consultation from a lawyer by completing the form at the top right of your screen.

adrijadey

adrijadey

adrijadey

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  • ian schofield

    Ignorance can never be used as a viable defence in the face of the law….so how about some enlightenment? WHICH law makes cannabis illegal in the uk?
    it states often that its an ‘offence’ (note, not crime) but fails completely to quote the LAW that makes it illegal

  • http://reeds-solicitors.com/ law firm oxford

    With Oxford having a large student population drug use such as cannabis is a growing issue. This has caused the local police force to step up there efforts, although this has its issues due to the woolly definition of drug classing.

  • Me lo

    I feel bad for you british folks, makes me wonder how “smart” the people who make these laws are, 5 years for a bag of weed? SMH thats crazy

  • Anon420

    I was wondering if you could advise me on something.
    I have a single conviction for possession of class A, class B and class C drugs all in small quantities after police raided my house from which I was ordered to pay a fine. I’ve since not touched anything but have found myself in certain situation where a spliff has been offered to me which I’ve resisted.
    However it did make me wonder if I was to get caught for possession of just cannabis again what sort of punishment could I expect. Please dont just quote me official figures from the law I’m looking for a realistic idea given what you’ve maybe seen people get in the past.
    Thanks

  • Oq

    Hi, I used to be a smoker of cannabis and have a quick question. I still have grinders at my home (keepsakes) but was wondering what would be the legal implications of residual thc’s in the base of the grinders. Would that still be classed as possession?

  • Mississippi Hoodaman

    I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH COGESTIVE HEART FAILURE IN 1997, THEY HAD ME ON11 DIFFERENY CHEMICAL MEDICATIONS! I TOOK A STAND FOR THE LORD TOLD THEM TO STICK THEIR DAMN CHEMICALS STOPPED TAKING THEM SARTED SMOKING WEED “AGAIN ” HAD THEN TAKE THE DEFIBULATER OUT OF MY CHEST & I WAS ” CERTIFIED HEALTHY 3 WEEKS AGO, I SMOKE AND GROW EVERY DAMN DAY, WHY YOU SAY? WELL, WEED IS GODS HERN NOT MANS TO DICTATE WHO CAN & WHO CAN NOT PERIOD, READ THE BOOK OF REVELATION. & THE HEBS OF THE FIELD ” SHALL HEAL THE PEOPLE ” I DON’T NEED PERMISSION GOD GAVE IT WHEN HE CREATED IT, & I DO NOT HAVE TO ” ASK PERMISSION OR PAY TO BE PUT ON A LIST TO VOLANTARILY TO TELL THE GOVT. I SMOKE POT ! IT IS NONE OF THEIR DAMN BUSINESS PERIOD, UNLESS THEY THINKJ THEY ARE ” GOD ” THEN I SAY TAKE IT UP WITH HIM, BUT I GROW AND SMOKE POT & WILL CONTINUE UNTIL THE Day I DIE PERIOD! BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 56YR OLD RETIRED WELDER, DAD OF 6 I RAISED ON MY OWN, BORN AGAIN SPRIT FILLED CHRISTIAN , YOU THINK YOU GOT THE ” HORSES FOR THAT, WELL GOOD LUCK & GOD BLESS. BUT I CAN TELL YOU THISIN JESUS NAME, I AM THE LAST MAN OF GOD YOU WANNA MESS WITH BIG BOY! BRING IT !

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