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Legal high ban ‘technically’ includes alcohol

Ministers have acknowledged that the wording of a new blanket ban on legal highs in the UK is so broad that it could technically be used to illegalise alcohol.

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Alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and medical products are set to be excluded from the offence

The legislation was announced during the Queen’s Speech earlier this week, effectively banning “any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect”.

The bill would make producing or suppling such substances illegal, with offenders facing a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.

However, the Home Office have asserted that alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and medical products are set to be excluded from the offence.

Ireland and Poland have similar bans in place already, however under their legislation substances must produce “significant” effects which means commonly-used stimulants such as alcohol are excluded.

The decision to ban a whole class of substances and specify which ones are permitted is not usually how UK laws are implemented; until now members of the public have been allowed consume whatever they want unless specifically forbidden.

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