Nitrous oxide, AKA “laughing gas” or “nos”, is set to be banned in the UK under new clamp-downs on the drug which is the second most commonly used by 16 to 24-year-olds.
The government spoke on plans to ban the drug in the UK last week, yesterday announcing that it would become illegal to possess or sell the drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
Speaking on the Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme on March 26, levelling up secretary Michael Gove said that the drug has an “intoxicating and potentially damaging effect on young brains and young nervous systems”.
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“I think anyone who has the opportunity to walk through our parks in our major cities will have seen these little silver canisters, which are examples of people not only spoiling public spaces but taking a drug which can have a psychological and neurological effect and one that contributes to antisocial behaviour overall,” he added.
Despite heavy backing, the ban goes against advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), who earlier this month said that sanctions for its use and possession are “disproportionate” to the level of harm associated with the drug.
New laws come amongst a government crackdown on drug restriction. As of now, nos is illegal to produce or supply for use under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, but will soon become illegal to possess, import, or distribute.
The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said that it “welcomed the announcement” by the government. “The industry has faced a long standing battle with the sale and use of this drug, with the current legislation leaving licensees and authorities powerless to tackle the problem.”
“Businesses have been put under immense pressure by Police, local authorities and residents as a result of streets being littered with silver canisters, exposing staff and customers to petty crime, anti-social behaviour and organised crime gangs.”
Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins