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The UK’s legal regime regarding the licensing of controlled drugs, arising from the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and involving the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 and other secondary legislation, is in a state of flux. The highly publicised and reported therapeutic and medicinal benefits of certain controlled drugs, notably cannabis, have attracted particular attention in the media. Less well known are the issues around UK businesses’ involvement in sales of products overseas that would be unlawful if sold here (eg in Canada following the Cannabis Act), which can raise issues under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA).
Our lawyers have experience in advising on the legal implications of producing, importing, exporting, supplying and possessing controlled drugs, including the requirements to hold domestic, import and/or export licence(s) from the Home Office.
Whether it be the justification behind a prospective licensing application or the renewal of a licence, specialist advice is available to individuals and businesses throughout the process, including the merits of making proposals to the Home Office and the preparation of written standard operating procedures. The BCL team is highly effective at engaging with connected parties, such as those businesses involved in the production and supply chain.
Our recognised experience in controlled drugs regulation means that if there is an issue concerning a licence application, constructive and prompt legal advice is always available to an applicant to aid their ability to comply with regulatory standards and satisfy the risk-based licensing assessment process operated by the Home Office.
In addition, BCL can offer expert advice on the implications under POCA of investments and other business arrangements that may involve the proceeds of overseas sales of controlled drugs. Where the circumstances require it, we can assist with the preparation of a request to the National Crime Agency (NCA) for defences against any principal money laundering offences that may be engaged.