May 17, 2016
Things change pretty quickly and if you’re in the legal profession, it’s important to stay up to date with any changes to the law, no matter where in the world it happens. Take for example this recent story out of Great Britain.
‘Legal highs’ have been a substantial problem in the UK for the last several years. These substances, which mimic the effects of drugs, but are able to be sold legally in convenience stores because they alter the chemical properties slightly, have been a hot seller, especially for underage kids and university students looking to party. They’ve become so rampant that a series of videos taken from city surveillance cameras showing people under the influence of legal highs became a recent viral hit. But now the British government may finally have the upper hand as a new law that will place a blanket ban on all of these substances will apparently come into effect within England and Wales in the next few weeks.
It will be officially known as the Psychoactive Substances Act and will ban “any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect”. This covers the production, supply and movement of legal highs and the punishments are pretty severe. Anybody found dealing faces up to seven years in prison and even if you’re just caught possessing, you could face up to two years in prison. Accordingly, police are going to have much more power to be able to search, seize and destroy any legal highs.
Not everyone thinks this new law is such a great idea. Critics say that the ban will be unenforceable and that the government should be focusing instead on education. And while it’s estimated that legal highs were linked to the deaths of at least 140 people in 2014, it was also found that in 60% of those instances, the user had also ingested other substances.
Alternatively, the ban may just push users back to illegal drugs. But since, believe it or not, legal highs have often been shown to be more harmful than conventional illegal drugs, this may actually be a small step in the right direction.
As a legal professional in Canada, no matter how this eventually plays out, you’ll want to stay on top of it for any implications it may have on your clients, both locally and internationally. That’s why lawyers all over the globe need to use a proper legal research tool in order to stay on top of the latest laws and rulings. Online legal research tools enable you to access an entire law library’s worth of legal and court information, so you can be as knowledge as possible about any given case. You never know when information like this will come in handy.