A simple guide to the offence of use and possession of Cannabis

Cannabis and amphetamine are controlled drugs and categorised as Class B drugs. Possession of cannabis is a criminal offence. It is also an offence to, cultivate or produce cannabis by any other means. Cannabis used to alleviate pain or for the medical purpose will not provide any defence for the charge of possession of cannabis

Defence

The possible defence of possession of cannabis may include a defence that the defendant took the possession of the cannabis to prevent another person from committing a drug offence and he/she has taken all reasonable steps to destroy the drugs or handed them over to police or any other lawful authority. Throwing away or burying cannabis will not provide any defence against the charge of possession of cannabis.

Lack of knowledge or lack of suspicion or no reason to suspect the existence of controlled drug will provide a defence, however, the burden of proof will be on the suspect to prove that he/she had no knowledge or reasonable grounds to believe that the drugs found in his/her possession were banned or controlled drugs.

Sentence

Under Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971, cultivation, production, and possession of cannabis is a triable either way offence, which means that the case can be tried at Magistrate Court or at Crown Court. The maximum sentence on indictment (where the case is tried at Crown Court) is 14 years imprisonment. Where the case is tried at Magistrate court the maximum sentence is 6 months imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

For further information, guidance and advice visit www.legalally.co.uk

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