or call 0300 105 4848.
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.
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.
Licences for industrial hemp are generally valid for 3 growing seasons. The licence only allows for the industrial use of the seed and fibre, which are non-controlled parts of the hemp plant. The licence does not allow for the use of the flowers or leaves (‘green’ or controlled materials).
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.
Thefts and losses.
You can read details of how we handle your personal information.
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 have subscribed to the DBS update service, you should include this information in your licence application.
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.
Added important date information for industrial hemp licence applications for the 2020 growing season.
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.
You may be charged any costs already owed, relating to administration, travel or accommodation arrangements, if:
If you have forgotten your login details or need your password reset, email [email protected]
If your company or organisation want to cultivate industrial hemp you need to apply for a controlled drugs domestic licence.
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.
Apply for an industrial hemp licence.
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 2022 growing season.
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.
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.
We consider how much to charge for cancellations case by case.
If you apply to register or apply for a licence after these cut-off dates, we cannot guarantee processing times and we may have to reject your application or registration request.
Information for prospective growers of low THC cannabis (industrial hemp), for the production of seed and fibre only.
If you apply before the ‘application window’ opens.
Added important date information for industrial hemp licence applications for the 2021 growing season.
This address deals with domestic (UK) controlled substance licenses including precursor chemicals, applications, renewals, compliance visits, thefts and losses, surrender or returning licence, or general enquiries about domestic licensing.
As a licensed industrial hemp grower, you must submit an annual hemp grower statement by 1 May each year.
New wording about how licence will be sent out after payment.
If you are a new or existing grower read our hemp factsheet for information on the licensing process for industrial hemp.
Once you have paid, the licence will be sent electronically via email.
You can report any theft or unaccounted losses of controlled drugs by email to [email protected] using the thefts and losses form.
We may also ask for our administrative costs to be paid within 10 working days. We can email you extra information about these costs.
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.
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.
Maximum: 14 years’ imprisonment and/or unlimited fine.
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.
There is more information on this issue in sentencing for drug offences.
A person can only be charged with cultivation or production, not both offences together.
Cultivation is the tending of plants, i.e. watering, feeding, nurturing etc.
Offence Range: Discharge – 10 years’ imprisonment.
If you have been arrested or charged for a drugs offence call or email Release for free and confidential advice.
So why would you need to grow nine plants if you don't intend to deal? The idea is that this one garden provides for multiple cannabis consumers who are part of a "collective"—a "separate and legally distinct group of consenting adults that wish to avoid engaging with the black-market by the communal growing and sharing of cannabis," according to the UKCSC website.
James, a grower who has been raided before, has recently registered his garden under the tagged collective model. He told me: "This scheme allows us to show that we are not commercial growers if we do get another knock at the door. And it shows the authorities that whilst cultivation is illegal at the moment, we are trying to do it in as professional a manner as possible and be responsible."
Nine tagged plants.
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James also hopes the scheme will help to foster better relations with the police, as he'd like to be able to access his medicine without fear of arrest or prosecution. "I've had bad joint and muscle pain for about five years, and I've used cannabis concentrates to help with pain relief," he says. "After years of different tests, I just found out this week that it's fibromyalgia. This is why I grow cannabis; even though I have been raided before, it is the only way I can guarantee consistent quality meds."
A poster provided as part of the UKCSC’s tagging system.
"The sheriff who headed up the idea was praised for his innovation by most, and a bridge was built between cannabis growers and the police for the first time ever," says Greg. "I'd love to achieve this bridge in the UK."
Another grower under the UKCSC scheme, Trev, has confidence in the project. He says: "Sooner or later we'll hit a tipping point where the police have to work far more effectively with us, rather than against us. The same will happen vice versa, which all goes towards community relations and cracking down on crime gangs. The tags show the police that I'm part of something bigger than myself. It shows them that I'm part of a culture that would far sooner work with them for change."
These collectives consist of many medical users of cannabis who are looking for the safest and fairest access possible, as well as recreational enthusiasts who don't want to associate with the criminal market and also wish to grow their preferred strains to a much cleaner standard than what's available on the street. As well as making it clear to the court that your grow was not funding organized crime, the money you paid for the tags goes into a pot maintained by UKCSC, which helps to fund your legal defense if you do ever get raided.
The money raised would be added directly to the community's tax budget, and therefore was a win-win situation for everyone—growers who signed up to the system were no longer anxious about being raided, and the community benefited economically.
In Colorado, cannabis is tracked by batch and by gram from seed to sale. This system of regulation was another source of inspiration for Greg, who sees such moves as an important part of cannabis coming out of the underground and becoming an accepted part of society. "This is about taking cannabis into our own hands and away from criminals," he says. "The tags are about knowing your cannabis has been grown properly, cleanly, and is of medical quality. The tags are about being ethical—knowing that acquiring your medication or your recreational drug doesn't fund the dealing of hard drugs, sex trafficking, or other real crime."
The UKCSC sells a kit containing branded tags complete with unique serial numbers, and a poster bearing a notice for the police. You can use these to tag up to nine plants in one grow location, which signifies your operation is not one with criminal intentions. In other words, you are not a street or commercial dealer.
(Top photo: two tagged plants) This post originally appeared on VICE UK In the UK, growing weed is usually a pretty clandestine procedure. It has to be, really, considering it's still very much illegal and can see you handed anything from a community service sentence to a decade in prison. Good news for green-fingered smokers, then, that the United Kingdom Cannabis Social Clubs (UKCSC) has recently launched a system that, in theory, would help you battle a court case if your grow was busted.
No one who is registered under the tagging system has actually been raided yet, so how the police and courts will view this model has not yet been tested. "I'd like to think the police would look at the tags and be able to clearly see that the plants are not intended for sale on the street and that they are for helping people to have a decent quality of life," says James.
The tagged plant model also does more than just sending a message, it also allows the UKCSC to track data around how many potential medical users and growers exist in the UK. Greg de Hoedt, the President of the UKCSC, got the idea for this comprehensive anonymous database after seeing similar systems in US states where cannabis is legal, like California and Colorado.
Alongside the tagging system, domestic growers in certain parts of the country have something else their side: The fact that Sara Thornton, head of the National Police Chiefs Council, has said cracking down on weed has "never been a top priority," and that if police are alerted to small-scale grows they're more likely to just "record" the news rather than carry out an investigation.
There are four categories of cannabis grows in the eyes of the law. Category 1 is where your operation is capable of producing enough for commercial distribution, and the remaining categories work their way down to number four, meaning nine or less plants, which can be considered a "domestic operation."
Whether or not this tagging system will make a tangible difference to a potential court case is yet to be seen, but the message is clear: Some people just want to grow the weed they smoke, and which affects only them, without being dealt with like gangsters by the authorities. Whether it's for medical or recreational purposes, Greg tells me he sees it as a human right for someone to be able to grow and supply their own medicine and to have the freedom to choose what they do with their own bodies.
"The inspiration initially came from an area in California called Mendocino," says Greg. "When the area was doing badly economically, the police force risked having major cuts. As the area was already known to be full of weed growers, they decided to drastically slow down on raiding weed farms—instead, they offered growers tags and flags for $8,000 that would make them immune from being a police target. The only condition was that there were no more than 99 plants being grown."