The law

Cannabis is a class C drug. It is illegal and harmful. The maximum sentence for possessing cannabis is 2 years in prison and an unlimited fine. The maximum penalty for supplying cannabis is 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine.

People aged 18 and over are no longer automatically arrested for possessing cannabis. However, you will be arrested if:

  • You are caught regularly;
  • You smoke in public places;
  • You use cannabis near premises where children and young people go.
It is an offence to be in charge of a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis. Sentences include disqualification from driving, fines and imprisonment.

If you are under 18 years of age

People under 18 will still be arrested for possession of cannabis. This means the Police and the Youth Offending Team (YOT) can see if there are any underlying problems associated with a young person’s cannabis use. The police can give reprimands and warnings at the police station – they will keep them on file in case the person is caught again. Offenders may end up in court in the future.

A criminal record can cause serious problems at home, college or work, and in later life.