No Laughing Matter

Written 31st August 2017 by Ruth Peters

The Psychoactive Substances Act introduced last year was heralded as a step by the government to address the problem of what had previously been known as ‘legal highs’.

The definition of such substances was that any substance ‘that stimulated or depressed a person’s central nervous system or affects a persons mental or functioning state’ was banned. Various exceptions were made for tobacco, caffeine and some food products.

Other exemptions were made for medicinal products as defined in the Human Medicines Regulations.

What is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous Oxide is commonly known as laughing gas and small gas canisters are a regular sight at festivals. It is used for medical purposes particularly in surgery and dentistry but the ‘euphoric effects’ of inhaling it have led to its recreational use more recently.

However two cases this week have collapsed as a Judge has ruled and a Crown Prosecution Service toxicologist concluded it is an exempted substance as the Act is currently worded.

Have you pleaded guilty to supplying Nitrous Oxide?

This therefore throws into doubt all those that have pleaded guilty or have been found guilty of supplying Nitrous Oxide. It would seem that those with such convictions may now have a ground of appeal that may not have previously been known.

The drugs charity Release have commented: “The CPS must urgently drop all prosecutions under the Psychoactive Substances Act and review cases where defendants have previously pleaded guilty.”

Contact Specialist Criminal Defence Lawyer Max Saffman

If you have been convicted of supplying nitrous oxide or or require any further information please contact Max Saffman at Olliers Solicitors on 0161 8341515 or by email to

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