What next for the UK’s cannabis laws? – John Binns for Open Access Government

What next for the UK’s cannabis laws? – John Binns for Open Access Government

BCL partner John Binns writes for Open Access Government on the future developments UK legal cannabis industry, including legal, cultural and political challenges.

Here’s an extract from the article:

“The first set of challenges brought by UK law to the cannabis debate are technical in nature, arising simply from the way our laws are written. One key topical example is the fact that, contrary to much public reporting on the subject, our Misuse of Drugs Act contains no exemption for products that contain THC below a certain minimum threshold (whether 0.2% or otherwise), causing a problem for many CBD products that contain such trace amounts. Another is that our Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) prohibits virtually any dealing with the proceeds of ‘criminal conduct’, defined to include conduct that is lawful overseas but that would be unlawful if it happened here

On the face of it, these issues would be relatively easy to resolve, by amending the legislation to bring it in line with what most people would reasonably assume is the law – although any technical solution would itself bring technical questions. Would it, for instance, be for the producer or the retailer of the CBD product to prove that its THC content is below the relevant threshold? And should that threshold be put at 0.2%, or somewhere else? Would a POCA exemption cover all overseas drug sales or just medicinal cannabis from certain jurisdictions? And how would it address the relevance of U.S. federal law?

Such technical fixes would certainly be good for business, though it should be noted that on the one hand, there are already routes to operate within the existing law and on the other hand, that there are myriad other laws – on cosmetics labelling, on e-cigarettes, on food safety, on marketing of medical products – that serve to make the UK a highly regulated environment.”


This article was originally published by Open Access Government. You can read the full article on their website.

John Binns is a partner at BCL specialising in all aspects of business crime, with a particular interest in confiscation, civil recovery and money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”). His business crime experience includes representing suspects, defendants and witnesses in cases invoking allegations of bribery and corruption, fraud (including carbon credits, carousel/MTIC, land-banking, Ponzi and pyramid scheme frauds), insider trading, market abuse, price-fixing, sanctions-busting, and tax evasion. He has coordinated and undertaken corporate investigations and defended in cases brought by BEIS, the FCA, HMRC, NCA, OFT, SFO and others.