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Drugs and the Law

Staffordshire Police works in partnership to tackle drugs issues. Officers are involved in a range of operations and activities with partner agencies to tackle criminal activity involving drugs. Here you will find information specifically about drugs law and the most common drug related offences.

The main drugs offences are:

  • Possession - this means being caught with an illegal drug for your own use.
  • Possession with intent to supply drugs - if you had an intention of dealing (which can include giving and sharing drugs) you may be charged with this more serious offence.
  • Supply of a controlled drug.
  • Production or manufacture of a controlled drug.
  • Permitting premises to be used for producing, supplying or injesting illegal drugs

A class system of A, B and C groupings are used to categorise illegal drugs in the UK, these are separated in relation to the risk they pose. Penalties for possession of and dealing these can be seen below:


  Penalty for possession

 Penalty for dealing


  Up to 7 years in prison and / or an unlimited fine

 Up to life in prison and / or an unlimited fine


  Up to 5 years in prison and / or an unlimited fine

 Up to 14 years in prison and / or an unlimited fine


  Up to 2 years in prison and / or an unlimited fine

 Up to 14 years in prison and / or an unlimited fine

Is Cannabis Legal?

Cannabis is a class B drug and it is illegal to use, possess, supply or produce the drug.

In England and Wales, a first offence for possession of cannabis could attract a community resolution, conditional cautions or charge for the offence. Any aggravating factors are likely to lead to an arrest and prosecution.

The maximum sentence in a magistrates' court is a penalty of three months imprisonment and/or a fine (maximum £2,500). In a Crown Court the maximum sentence is five years imprisonment and/or a fine. A conviction of production and/or supply of the drug can carry a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment.

However, it is worth noting that these are only proposed penalties. It does not necessarily mean that a first offence for possession will certainly be met with a warning. The Crown Prosecution Service could decide to prosecute a first time offender for possession of more than a minimal amount of the drug.

CANNS helpline (for cannabis and skunk) offers support - mainly to loved ones who are affected by the taking of cannabis and skunk, but also for addicts - Tel: 0844 3351506.