are you allowed to grow cannabis in the uk

Maximum: 14 years’ imprisonment and/or unlimited fine.

The reason that an individual would be charged with production instead of cultivation is because production is classed as a ‘trafficking’ offence, which allows the authorities to order a POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act) hearing.

Cultivation is the tending of plants, i.e. watering, feeding, nurturing etc.

Offence Range: Discharge – 10 years’ imprisonment.

A person can only be charged with cultivation or production, not both offences together.

Penalties available for cultivation of cannabis.

The severity of the penalty applied in relation to cultivation of cannabis will depend on the individual circumstances of the case. The prosecution consider the size of the operation, the individual’s role in said operation & certain mitigating factors. The Sentencing Guidelines for Drug Offences outlines the range of sentences available for cultivation of cannabis cases:

POCA provides the courts with scope to confiscate the proceeds of a crime where a defendant is shown to have benefited from their criminal conduct.

It is unlawful to cultivate any part of a cannabis plant. It is not an offence to supply or possess cannabis seeds, but any action which germinates or cultivates them is an offence.

There is more information on this issue in sentencing for drug offences.

If you have been arrested or charged for a drugs offence call or email Release for free and confidential advice.

“The Home Secretary listened, and there was a consultation on the evidence-the high-profile cases of Billy Caldwell, Alfie Dingley and Sophia Gibson. They were genuine cases and the Government, for once, did the right thing and did it quickly. No, I do not think they were raising expectations. What has happened is that hopes have been correctly raised, because this offers a lot of hope and benefit to a lot of people, but we have now moved across to implementation and the honest reality is that it is a disaster. It is just not working. The families sitting behind me now should be getting prescriptions, going home and watching their children, hopefully-it might not work for everyone-improving day after day. I do not think it was wrong to raise the expectation: it is wrong not to implement it”. – Peter Carroll, Campaign Director of the group End our Pain, giving evidence to the Commons Health Select Committee, in 2019.

Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith admitted to having previously smoked cannabis, but still reclassified the drug.

Whether cannabis should be legalised, decriminalised or reclassified are all controversial issues, as are any Government attempts to reform the law on drug use.

In Italy, the personal possession of cannabis is not a criminal offence, albeit civil sanctions such as the suspension of a driver’s licence might be applied.

The development of superior alternatives, such as the invention of the syringe for rapid drug inducement and the development of aspirin, led to the reduced use of cannabis in medicine.


The case made for the status quo Those opposed to the decriminalisation of cannabis have often lumped ‘soft drugs’ such as cannabis together with ‘hard drugs’ like heroin and cocaine, if not by ascribing the same physiological and social effects to each, then by regarding the soft drugs as a ‘gateway’ to hard drug use.

In 2002, Home Secretary David Blunkett announced that he might permit the medical use of cannabis if clinical trials of the drug were successful.

Finally those calling for the reform of cannabis laws, such as the former Conservative leader William Hague, have also pointed to the widespread use of cannabis amongst the population. This, they suggest, undermines the rule of law, and risks criminalizing people who are otherwise law abiding. It is claimed that when a law has ceased to be credible, and police enthusiasm for enforcing it has waned, respect for the law in general is damaged. If a law is not supported or enforced, they argue that it should be disposed with.

Following debates in both Houses of Parliament, the current reclassification came into effect on 26th January 2009.

In mid 2019, formal permission was given for the NHS to prescribe cannabis based medicines to treat Lennox Gastuat and Dravet syndrome. Clinical trials showed the cannabis based medications reduced the associated seizures that came with these conditions.

In January 2004, cannabis was downgraded to a class C drug across the country.

In 2018, Home Office figures showed that 15,120 people in England and Wales were prosecuted for possession of cannabis.

The government accepted 20 of the ACMD reports 21 recommendations, but rejected recommendation 3, that “Cannabis should remain a class C drug”.

Cannabis is a durable hemp plant which can be used to produce a number of products including seeds, pulp, and medicine. As a substance it is a controlled drug under the misuse of drugs legislation. However, changes to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations in November 2018 do now allow medicinal cannabis to be prescribed under certain circumstances.

The Home Office stated that this meant “that senior clinicians will be able to prescribe the medicines to patients with an exceptional clinical need”. The new regulations provided for a definition of cannabis-based medicines and set out that only doctors on the General Medical Council’s specialist register could prescribe these medicines.

In what countries is cannabis use legal?

In May 2008, the government announced its decision to reclassify cannabis as a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The government’s decision in 2008 was highly controversial, not least because it rejected the findings of a review by the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) carried out at the request of the Prime Minister.

However, echoing the decriminalization movements witnessed in other countries, in recent years there have been fresh calls for a rethink on the approach towards cannabis laws UK.

Cannabis was reclassified as a Class B Drug by Gordon Brown’s government in 2008.

The case made for reform In contrast, those who favour the legalization of cannabis point to contradictory medical evidence as to the dangers posed by cannabis on user’s mental and physical health and on its addictive properties.

For those caught with a small amount of cannabis – typically less than one ounce – police can issue a warning or on-the-spot fine if the possession is deemed for personal use.

Libertarian campaigners also call for a reform in the law on grounds of personal choice and individual freedom.

It therefore remains illegal to smoke weed anywhere in the United Kingdom, including within one’s own home. Data however suggests that this law is regularly flouted.

The history of UK cannabis law.

However, not all Western countries have yet moved in this direction.

Cannabis was first made illegal in the UK in 1928.

“Can British Conservatives be as bold as Canadian Liberals? We ought to be. After all, we believe in market forces and the responsible exercise of freedom, regulated as necessary. We should prefer to provide for lawful taxes than preside over increased profits from crime. And we are pragmatists, who change with society and revise our opinions when the facts change” – Former Conservative Leader, William Hague, writing in the Daily Telegraph, 2018.

Gordon Brown and tightening the law on Cannabis After ten years of liberalising attitudes towards cannabis, in 2007, shortly after he became Prime Minister, Gordon Brown signalled that he would consider reclassifying cannabis as a Class B drug.

Cannabis is classified as a class B drug. As such, any person who is caught with cannabis risks up to five years imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both. While being convicted of producing and supplying a Class B drug, risks up to 14 years imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both.

“It is paramount, following the long-awaited acknowledgement that cannabis has medical value; that we stop prosecuting patients who fall outside of the initial criteria for application. Over a million patients in the UK are currently self-medicating with cannabis for a medical condition and it is not in the public interest to have these chronically ill patients living with the threat of prosecution for consuming a medicine that gives them relief from their symptoms. This argument is not about drugs, it is about people taking responsibility for their own health and being allowed to do so”. – Carly Jayne Barton – Deputy Director – United Patients Alliance.

According to a 2016 Home Office Survey, 6.5% of people aged between 16 and 59 reported to have used cannabis in the previous year, with the figure rising to 15.8% amongst those aged between 16 and 24.

The Early 2000s – The downgrading of Cannabis In the early 2000s, there was a temporary change in the UK Government’s stance on cannabis, largely in response to changing public perception towards the drug at the time.

Applications for licences to cultivate in the 2022 season can be made from this date. Applications received before this date will be rejected as premature.

If you, or anyone named on the application, already has a DBS check in place for drug licensing purpose dated 3 years or older from Security Watchdog you will need to apply for a new DBS check.

Added important date information for industrial hemp licence applications for the 2021 growing season.

Friday 1 April 2022.

As a licensed industrial hemp grower, you must submit an annual hemp grower statement by 1 May each year.

Once you have paid, the licence will be sent electronically via email.

If your company no longer needs a controlled drugs licence you will need to submit a controlled drugs licence return premises closure statement. Even if you continue to trade but no longer handle controlled drugs you will need to submit a statement.

We consider how much to charge for cancellations case by case.

New wording about how licence will be sent out after payment.

If your controlled drugs licence is approved, you will receive an email with instructions for payment. We will not issue your licence until the fee is paid.

If your company or organisation want to cultivate industrial hemp you need to apply for a controlled drugs domestic licence.

Monday 28 February 2022.

You must make sure that each person named on the application form holds a valid Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. The DBS check must be done by Security Watchdog. You can contact them on 01420 558 752 to apply for one. If you have a DBS check by another company, we cannot accept your certificate.

Our fees cover the costs of processing an application and are charged per licensing decision so different fee levels may apply. The fee levels are set out in the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2010. Read the full list of fees for controlled drugs licences.

You may be charged any costs already owed, relating to administration, travel or accommodation arrangements, if:

Last date for first-time or repeat growers of ‘industrial hemp’ for seed and/or fibre only to submit licence applications. This is so that we can try to reach an initial decision on applications by Friday 29 April 2022. You must have completed enhanced DBS checks for each person named on the licence application before submission. The application must be limited to outdoor cultivation a purpose wholly covered by the hemp policy as set out in our grower factsheet.

If you have subscribed to the DBS update service, you should include this information in your licence application.

Personal information.

If you apply to register, or (if you are already registered) apply for a licence before the ‘application window opens’ date above we are likely to reject your request as premature. We will not hold it open and you will need to re-apply.

Last date for new prospective growers of ‘industrial hemp’ for seed and/or fibre only to apply to register as a user of our drug licensing portal. If approved, you will be able to apply for a license.

Information for prospective growers of low THC cannabis (industrial hemp), for the production of seed and fibre only.

To apply, you first need to register as a customer on the controlled drugs licensing system. If your application is successful, you will receive a username and password. You do not need to register again each time you apply.

If you have forgotten your login details or need your password reset, email [email protected]

Controlled drugs are drugs named in misuse of drugs legislation. Cannabis is a Class B controlled drug listed in Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 and in the Misuse of Drugs Designation Order 2015.