'Legal high' review after laughing gas cases collapse Watch
The Crown Prosecution Service is reviewing two cases after a judge and the government's own expert witness said "laughing gas" was exempt.
This now raises questions as to whether the new law will need to be amended.
The Psychoactive Substances Act was introduced last year to deal with the problem of new manufactured drugs.
Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is taken by hundreds of thousands of people every year as a recreational drug. But the gas is also used by doctors for its pain-relieving properties.
In a statement the Home Office said: "Nitrous oxide is covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act and is illegal to supply for its psychoactive effect.
"However, the Act provides an exemption for medical products. Whether a substance is covered by this exemption is ultimately one for a court to determine based on the circumstances of each individual case".
A subsection of the Psychoactive Substances Act exempts medical products defined as "restoring, correcting or modifying a physiological function by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action".
What are your thoughts on this, and more widely, this particular piece of legislation? It's no secret that this was a controversial law to put into place. I think it's quite embarrassing that the Government has lost two cases owing to the (very correct) interpretation of the law in regards to Nitrous Oxide.
Whether you think marijuana/MDMA should under the Misuse of Drugs Act, or the Psychoactive Substances Act, or even legal, is a another debate however
That the PSA needs so many explicit exemptions (such as tobacco and alcohol) is a red flag of its own.
But my point was that there are undoubtedly a vast number of previously legal substances covered by PSA which have some significant medical uses.
Alcohol or alcoholic products. In this paragraph— “alcohol” means ethyl alcohol, and “alcoholic product” means any product which—
(a) contains alcohol, and
(b) does not contain any psychoactive substance.
An alcoholic product must contain alcohol and must not contain alcohol.