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United Kingdom Marijuana Laws & Policy

Recreational and medical cannabis is illegal in the United Kingdom (UK). However, recently a specific cannabis-based drug was approved for the treatment of a limited number of conditions.

Current Legislation

In the UK, cannabis is classified as a Class B drug and it is illegal to possess, cultivate, distribute or sell without the appropriate licenses. The maximum penalty for possession is 5 years in prison and an unlimited fine. In cases where possession is in small amounts, a police officer may issue a warning or an on-the spot fine of £90. In the event a warning is issued, police keep record of the offense but there is no associated fine. Cultivation or possession with the intent to sell comes with a maximum penalty of up to 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine.

It is legal to grow industrial hemp in the UK, but a license is required to cover both cultivation and possession.

Medical Marijuana Laws

Currently in the UK, cannabis is not recognized as having any therapeutic value. However, since April 2013, cannabis (THC) drug Sativex was rescheduled from a Schedule 1 Class B drug to Schedule IV controlled substance, which allows it to be prescribed by a general practitioner. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has authorized Sativex to assist in the treatment of spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis. Doctors can prescribe it to assist in the treatment of other conditions, but at their own risk.


Drugs penalties. (2015, August 12). Gov.UK. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/penalties-drug-possession-dealing.

  • October 28, 2015
  • Eve Ripley