Challenging a classification under the Misuse of Drugs Act ?

Jasbird jasbird#deletethis# at
Tue Jul 22 09:34:25 EST 2003

Question. How do I challenge the classification of a drug under the
Misuse of Drugs Act?

Is anyone up for this?  Ideally any lawyers or neuroscientists. At the
very least - it should force the Home Office to explain why a mad law

I have a few candidate drugs:  DHEA, 2C-B, some other substance
currently classed as a class A drug which has no drug-like effect at
all.  Eg.  2,3-butylenedioxymethamphetamine.
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On Mon, 21 Jul 2003 18:31:55 +0100, Phil Stovell <phil at>

> The word "health" seems singularly absent from your recent messages. I
> understood from Claude et al that substances such as these were banned
> to protect people's health, not to fund barristers' piss-ups.
> Why don't you mention the adverse health factors driving the criminalising
> of these (possibly non existent) substances?
>Phil Stovell
>South Hampshire, UK
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I haven't been able to find any adverse health factors driving the
criminalisation of these substances (2C-B and the various
phenethylamines and tryptamines) and their users.

It's a mystery to me why they are illegal drugs. It's a bigger mystery
why they are class A illegal drugs.

Note what Rudi Fortson says on the topic - I have scanned the relevant
section of his book which is appended as a separate post.

1. The law states that the drug should be harmful.  There are two
types of harm
1.1  dangerous drugs.
1.2  "otherwise harmful" drugs. These are generally considered to
be drugs capable of constituting a "social problem". See below.

2.. The classification (in class A, B or C) should be proportional to
the harm.

3. The Advisory Council and Secretary of State are supposed to be able
to initiate research w.r.t. changing a drug classification. Drug
classification should be based on 'sound empirical research'

4. According to Fortson:

: it was ... not the intention of the legislature to control drugs that
: demonstrably appealed only to an eccentric few and was likely 
: to remain so. In those circumstances the abuse is contained 
: and limited to an isolated group and therefore not likely to
: constitute a social problem.

5. There is in theory a mechanism for challenging the classification
of a drug. See the last two paragraphs below.

I'm not sure why 2C-B and the thousands of other phenethylamines and
tryptamines are considered to be harmful. Practically no one uses such
drugs - apart from magic mushrooms [see 4 above]. I think the
dangerous drugs category includes drugs causing physical and mental
harm which phenethylamines and tryptamines don't do.  Certainly there
is little (no) evidence of this [see 3 above].

2C-B could not have been classed as "otherwise harmful" - 2C-B does
not cause social, physical or mental problems. It has no abuse
potential and is not addictive.  It must be regarded as a dangerous
drug [see 1 above].  But that is contradicted by 3 above - there is no
evidence of harm.

So why should the government lock someone up in prison if they happen
to possess 1 gram of it?

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