Get a conviction for drug dealing - no evidence needed

At the end of last year, we wrote on UKCIA about how the UK Government was to introduce a law whereby if a user has above a certain quantity of an illegal drug, they would be assumed to be dealing, and prosecuted as such - evidence of intent not required.

As we wrote at the time "This is an example of the already harmful and ineffective laws supposedly governing the cannabis trade growing even more dangerous.". Irrespective of what you may think of the laws governing cannabis and other currently-illegal drugs, one hopes that to be prosecuted for a crime you actually had to at least consider doing it. Here, things are different. You will be assumed to have been dealing the drug, unless you yourself can prove otherwise, and sentenced to that effect. It seems insane, but it is set to be the norm unless the Government can be stopped.

It is important to note that amounts under the specified criteria are not in any way legal. Possession will still be the crime it is now. This is entirely a draconian crackdown in law, not a liberalisation.

The dealing laws have very heavy penalties. For instance, supplying cannabis, by far the most used illegal drug in the UK, can land you in jail for 14 years and/or subject to an unlimited fine, under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

More recently, the Guardian newspaper has seen a letter from the Home Office detailing the amounts concerned. These are generally much lower than the amounts originally speculated, and even lower than what the Government's expert advisory body, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, (who have expressed concerns this development would cause serious policing problems) consider reasonable. They are as follows:

  • Cannabis: 5 grams (1% of the limited originally cited)
  • Ecstasy: 1.5g (about 5 tablets)
  • Amphetamines: 14g
  • Heroin: 2g
  • Cocaine: 2g
  • Crack: 2g

Despite the fact you might assume some research would be done before coming up with these amounts, no-one knows how many people this would automatically classify as dealers. Certainly more than will fit in our already over-burdened prisons.

What we do know though for instance is that many, many of the millions of cannabis users (especially regular users) will have more than 5 grams on hand as a matter of course: to imperialify this is between an 1/8th and a 1/4 of a ounce. Many will never consider going into dealing, but yet soon the idea is they will all be imprisoned under the same offence as pushing a kilo of hardcore skunk for profit to 10-year olds outside a primary school.


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