THE CURIOUS CASE OF CANNABIS SEEDS AND THE CRIMINAL LAW

On 2nd July, Corker Bining published an article which says that a recent extradition request from the US to the UK has exposed an intriguing discrepancy between the criminal laws of both countries concerning cannabis seeds.  The US sought the extradition from the UK of a defendant accused of trafficking, exporting and importing marijuana seeds (and related money laundering). The District Judge at first instance found, and the Divisional Court on appeal agreed, that this conduct did not constitute a criminal offence contrary to UK law.  This is said to be based on a deliberate but nonetheless curious lacuna in UK law.  At no point have cannabis seeds been criminalised under UK law – though the article cautions that someone might be guilty of an offence incitement to cultivate cannabis (which would be illegal), and to prove an offence of incitement it is not necessary to prove that anyone was in fact incited.  In the latest case there was said to be no evidence that the defendant had said or done anything which could be construed as positive encouragement or advice as to how the seeds should be cultivated.  The article concludes that the long-term interest of the case is that it illustrates the limitations of the law of incitement, not just in relation to drugs offences, but across the whole panoply of offences in English criminal law.

https://www.corkerbinning.com/the-curious-case-of-cannabis-seeds-and-the-criminal-law/

 

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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