Thomas Wilson/ Contributor
In the latest instalment of the War on Drugs, the Conservative Party have sought to introduce a ban on the sale and use of nitrous oxide. This appears to be the latest attempt at re-establishing the image of the Conservatives following the turmoil of the ‘Partygate’ scandals that have engulfed the party.
The proposed ban on nitrous oxide comes a month following the advice of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs for the government to think twice about the plans of a ban of the substance. The ACMD stated that criminalising users would be a disproportionate response to the level of harm that can be inflicted from usage.
“With fifty six people dying from usage between 2001 and 2020, according to the ONS, the ACMD went on to further state how legislative action would be problematic for those who use nitrous oxide for legal purposes.”
Although there is no question that the narcotic can be deadly, with fifty six people dying from usage between 2001 and 2020, according to the ONS, the ACMD went on to further state how legislative action would be problematic for those who use nitrous oxide for legal purposes. They argued that the ban would produce more red tape for those who require the drug, such as chefs who use the drug for culinary purposes; it can reduce compounds such as lactic acid, which produces a sour taste in bread.
As well as critics labelling the proposals as disproportionate and unfair to those who acquire the drug for legal means, Steve Rolley of the Transform Drug Policy Foundation has also pointed out that making possession a criminal offence would worsen the strain on the justice system.
Whilst the ban raises concerns, it does represent a clear desire for the Tories to return to their political roots in regards to being seen as strong on law and order, especially when it comes to drugs. The plans to legislate against the use of nitrous oxide come months after Home Secretary Suella Braverman was reported to be looking into raising the criminal classification of cannabis to Class A, a classification that can warrant up to several years in prison for possession.
What is evident from the plans to ban nitrous oxide, and the desires of the Home Secretary in regards to cannabis, is that Rishi Sunak’s government is unapologetically tough in their stance on drugs. This is something that could become a key battleground at the next General Election.