Ruling regarding status of nitrous oxide under Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

06 November 2017

It has recently been in the news that some cases of possessing nitrous oxide with intent to supply (under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016) had collapsed as the Crown Courts had held it to be a medicinal product and therefore exempt.

As a result of this publicity, the parties in R v Chapman (PNLD ref C3583) appealed against their convictions for the same offence. The Court of Appeal has now held that although nitrous oxide is exempt for medicinal purposes, it is not exempt for recreational purposes.

It has been decided that different products with precisely the same chemical composition may fall within or outside the definition of medicinal product depending on the circumstances

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