Psychopharmaceutical and psychotropic drugs has been a feature of the Night Time Economy for many years. Taking these substances have become viewed by many as recreational, and as such have become part of the fashionable activities inherent in the Night Time Economy by some. As a Premises Licence Holder, Designated Premises Supervisor or member of staff, there is little that you can do to counter that perception. But the one thing you cannot do is tolerate it in your premises. You are therefore advised to adopt a Zero Tolerance stance on ALL matters of Drugs Misuse.
The relevant law is found within the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and section 8 in particular to Licensed Premises. You can look it up for yourself if you are especially minded to, but the essence of it is distilled below:
‘Occupiers of premises to be punishable to PERMITTING or SUFFERING certain activities to take place there…
- Producing or attempting to produce controlled drugs
- Supplying or attempting to supply drugs
- Offering to supply drugs
- Preparing opium for smoking, or
- Permitting smoking cannabis, cannabis resin or opium.’
The majority of Licensed Premises that fall foul of the legislation fail on the final bullet point – i.e. permitting or suffering people to smoke cannabis on their premises, including their gardens.
‘Permitting’ requires you to have actual knowledge. However, ‘Suffering’ is slightly more complicated, as it implies a failure to take action. This clearly places the onus on you as managers to stop Drug Misuse on your premises or face the consequences of a criminal prosecution and/or a review of your Premises Licence. So: Don’t turn a blind eye! Nip it in the bud before it becomes a problem.
☝️ Please talk to your Local Policing Team and/or local Substance Misuse Team to help you address any issues. Make full use of your Pub Watch membership to share your knowledge and intelligence too.
✅ Have a drugs policy in place that is specific to your premises. You can download templated Drugs Searching, Seizure and Retention Policies and Registers from the TLG Vault for free.