Drug precursor legislation

On March 7th 2008 The Controlled Drugs (Drug Precursors) (Intra-Community Trade) Regulations 2008 and The Controlled Drugs (Drug Precursors) (Community External Trade) Regulations 2008 came into force. These Regulations give full effect to the relevant EU Regulations in the UK. The Regulations impose licence and reporting obligations on those dealing in scheduled substances. It is a criminal offence to fail to comply with the requirements of the regulations.

The Controlled Drugs (Drug Precursors) (Intra-Community Trade) Regulations 2008.

Penalties

6.(1) Subject to paragraph (2), the obligations imposed on operators by Article 5 (documentation), Article 7 (labelling), and Article 8 (notification of the competent authorities) of the Community Regulation shall be treated as if they are requirements imposed on them by regulations made under section 13(1) of the 1990 Act (regulation about scheduled substances), and as if references in those Articles to scheduled substances are references to scheduled substances within the meaning of Part 2 of that Act.

(2) Where a person is convicted of an offence contrary to section 13(5) of the 1990 Act as a result of the application of paragraph (1), section 13(5)(a) of the 1990 Act shall have effect as if for the words "6 months" there is substituted "3 months".

N.B "the Community Regulation" means Regulation (EC) No. 273/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council dated 11th February 2004(b); and “the 1990 Act” means the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990.

The Controlled Drugs (Drug Precursors) (Community External Trade) Regulations 2008.

Offences and penalties: documentation, labelling, provision of information

5.(1) Subject to paragraph (2), the obligations imposed under Articles 3 to 5, 8 and 9 of the Community Regulation shall be treated as if they are requirements imposed on them by regulations made under section 13(1) of the 1990 Act (regulation about scheduled substances), and as if references in those Articles to scheduled substances are references to scheduled substances within the meaning of Part II of that Act.

(2) Where a person is convicted of an offence contrary to section 13(5) of the 1990 Act as a result of the application of this regulation, section 13(5)(a) of the 1990 Act (penalty on summary conviction) shall have effect as if for the words “6 months” there is substituted “3 months”.

N.B "the Community Regulation" means Council Regulation (EC) No. 111/2005 dated 22nd December 2004(d); and "the 1990 Act" means the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990(c)

What does this mean for Industry and Chemical Suspicious Activity Reporting?

This means that the articles listed in these community regulations have been incorporated into UK law. The UK regulations support the EU regulations by providing for the powers and penalties required by the EU regulations.

Non-compliance with these Articles is treated as an offence under section 13(5) of the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990.

Specifically, for Chemical Suspicious Activity Reporting, this means that Article 8 and Article 9 (see below) are now regulations under UK law, and that any person failing to comply and found guilty of this offence is liable to-

(a) on summary conviction, imprisonment up to three months or a fine up to the statutory maximum or both;
(b) on conviction on indictment, imprisonment up to two years or a fine or both.

It is also worth noting that the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990 section 12, Manufacture and supply of scheduled substances, states that it is an offence for a person to supply such a substance to another person knowing or suspecting that the substance is to be used in or for the unlawful production of a controlled drug. Any person that is found guilty of this offence is liable to-

(c) on summary conviction, imprisonment up to six months or a fine up to the statutory maximum or both;
(d) on conviction on indictment, imprisonment up to fourteen years or a fine or both.

All UK Acts and Statutory Instruments can be found at www.opsi.gov.uk.

EU Regulations

The following three Regulations constitute the legal framework for the notification of suspicious activity relating to drug precursors:

Regulation (EC) No 273/2004 of the Council and the European Parliament of 11 February 2004 on drug precursors.
This Regulation lays down the basic rules governing the monitoring of intra Community trade. It applies not only to the EU but also to the other Members of the European Economic Area (Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland).
It is published in the Official Journal L 47 of 18 February 2004.

Article 8Notification of the competent authorities
1.Operators shall notify the competent authorities immediately of any circumstances, such as unusual orders or transactions involving scheduled substances to be placed on the market, which suggest that such substances might be diverted for the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.

Council Regulation (EC) No 111/2005 of 22 December 2004 laying down rules for the monitoring of trade between the Community and third countries in drug precursors.
This Regulation lays down the basic rules governing the monitoring of external trade.
It is published in the Official Journal L 22 of 26 January 2005

Article 9
 Notification of the competent authorities
1.Operators established in the Community shall notify the competent authorities immediately of any circumstances, such as unusual orders and transactions involving scheduled substances, which suggest that such substances intended for import, export or intermediary activities might be diverted for the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1277/2005 of 27 July 2005 laying down implementing rules for Regulation (EC) No 273/2004 and Regulation (EC) No 111/2005.
This is a joint implementing Regulation for both external and intra Community trade Regulations.
It is published in the Official Journal L 202 of 3 August 2005. The provisions of the regulations apply to the drug precursors that are defined as "scheduled substances".

This includes the 23 substances listed in the Annex of Reg. 111/2005 and in Annex I of Regulation 273/2004.

These substances are divided into 3 categories:

Category 1 covers the most sensitive substances (the “key” drug precursors);

Category 2 covers less sensitive substances and pre-precursors;

Category 3 covers bulk chemicals that can have different types of uses in the manufacturing process (feedstock, but also solvents, impurities remover….)

The legislation excludes medicinal products as defined by Directive 2001/83/EC of 6 November 2001 on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use, but covers all natural products and preparations (or mixtures) containing at least one scheduled substance of the above mentioned annexes, provided that they can be extracted by "readily applicable or economically viable means".

All three Regulations can be freely downloaded in all EU official languages from here

EU guidelines for operators

The European Commission has produced guidelines for industry entitled:

DRUG PRECURSORS’ CONTROL IN THE EUROPEAN UNION
 GUIDELINES FOR OPERATORS

It is not permitted to publish these Guidelines on a public access site, as agreed by the members of the EC Drug Precursor Committee.They can be requested from the NCA Chemical Control Team by email or post. See our Contact us section for addresses.

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