Under the legislation it is an offence to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, import or export psychoactive substances.
A psychoactive substance is defined in the new law as a substance which is capable of affecting a person's mental functioning or emotional state, but is not currently controlled as a class A, B or C drug. Psychoactive substances can include food, alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, caffeine and medical products so all of these are exempted from the Act. items banned for human consumption include Nitrous Oxide, or laughing gas which can still be sold for food production or dental treatments but which is now illegal to consume as a drug.
The blanket ban on psychoactive substances is designed to stop the supply of these substances which have been introduced at a rate of over a hundred new products each year over the last 6 years, each one with their chemical structure altered to avoid the Misuse of Drugs Act but with no regard to the potential effects on users of those products.
Anyone caught breaking the law could be given a maximum prison sentence of up to seven years.
Paul Bunt, Avon and Somerset Police's Drug Strategy Manager, said: "Psychoactive Substances are extremely dangerous and since their emergence have been linked with numerous incidents where people have been admitted to hospital, suffered long-term harm and even died.
"Anyone taking a psychoactive substance is playing Russian roulette with their health as many of these products have never been tested on humans.
"We are committed to reducing the harm caused by all drugs and in recent years we have been working hard to tackle the issue of so-called legal highs, using anti-social behaviour legislation to close down shops selling them. The Act, which we will enforce in a practical and proportionate way, allows officers to proactively stop and search people when they have reasonable grounds to suspect that a person has committed, or is likely to commit, an offence linked to the Act.
"Anyone selling so-called legal highs at Glastonbury will now be breaking the law, and if caught doing so, could face a maximum prison sentence of seven years. However, legislation is only one way in which we confront psychoactive substances and other drugs and we will continue to work with our partners in local authorities and trading standards on prevention and education measures."
By Oliver Hume - Central Somerset Gazette/June 11, 2016
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