Earlier this week it was suggested that even if it wanted to the Government wouldn't be able to act quickly against the drug Mephedrone or 'meow meow' because of the EU. It was claimed that to introduce new legislation to control the drug would require a 3 month consultation with our European partners. The Home Office itself appeared to give credence to this with an official suggesting that any ban would be in place "by the end of the year".
Certainly precedent on speedy law making to control harmful substances does not set a good example. It took the Home Office 18 months to implement the necessary regulations to control GBL (Gamma Butyrolactone) after the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) recommended legal restrictions.
It's true that the Technical Standards and Regulations Directive does provide for a 3 month notification period. However, the advice I've been given indicates that this directive is intended to cover restrictions on trade between EU member states. The spurious marketing of what amounts to a derivative of amphetamine as ‘plant food' hardly seems to qualify. In any event the directive incorporates an exemption relating to "the protection of public health of safety" where there are "urgent reasons."
If the ACMD does recommend on Monday that Mephedrone should be a controlled drug and the Government brings forward urgent measures to this effect it would have my support. Other European countries have already legislated to control Mephedrone. In this conext, I will need some convincing that any delay in the implementation of any controls over the drug lies at the door of the EU.