Contentious – but very interesting: [link]
The anniversary of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 will soon to be upon us, and yet clear information from the Home Office as to the effectiveness of that Act (and how it is proposed that psychoactivity be proved) is in short supply. This is to be regretted, but hopefully more information will be available soon. Although it seems clear that retails sales of non-controlled psychoactive substances sold on the open-market has markedly declined (or has ceased), it is not clear to what extent there has been displacement of the trade via online sales or domestic clandestine markets. The use of fentanyl, its derivatives, and other injectables, give cause for concern.
See “Legal Developments 2017” for the cases of R v Poraj; and R v Johnson. The latter case is important in relation to the issue of whether a person who carries, or conveys, an article into prison (in the absence of authority to do so) must know that the article is ‘prohibited’ albeit that it need not be proved that he/she knew precisely what the article was. Practitioners should be careful about using the colloquialism “Spice”. There is no such drug in science or in law called “Spice”. It is used to refer to certain synthetic cannabinoids of which there are a good many. Some are controlled under the MDA 1971 and some are not. They may, or may not be, “psychoactive” for the purposes of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.