On 8th November our Conservative government has introduced a ban to clamp down on the misuse of Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas).
The misuse of this drug can lead to neurological damage. It also contributes to anti-social behaviour with groups of youths congregating in public spaces, to the detriment of other members of the public. The cannisters can also be seen littering our roads and parks locally, being thoughtlessly discarded by those who inhale the gas.
The Bill became law on 8th November and this now means that :
1. Possession of Nitrous Oxide is now a criminal offence (unless being used for a legitimate reason), being classified as a Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
2. Those found in unlawful possession will face either an unlimited fine, a visible community punishment, or a caution—which would appear on their criminal record and for repeat offenders, a prison sentence of up to 2 years.
3. The penalty for supply or production will double, up to 14 years in prison.
Brentwood and Ongar Member of Parliament, Alex Burghart who voted for the Amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 said : "The Government wants a zero-tolerance approach towards antisocial behaviour and flagrant drug taking in our public spaces. Nitrous oxide is dangerous to people’s health - we are sending a clear signal that there are consequences for misusing drugs."