Circular 011/2014: changes to Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 - khat

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2014 classifies khat as a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.



  • broad subject: crime and disorder
  • sub category: drugs offences
  • implementation date: 24 June 2014
  • from: Crime and Policing Group – Drugs and Alcohol Unit
  • for more information contact: Cyrille Marcel at or on 020 7035 0618
  • addressed to: Chief Officers of Police (England and Wales), Chief Officer of Police (Northern Ireland), chief officers of Police (Scotland), clerks to the Police Authorities, Chief Executive of Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service, Director of Crime, delivery directors, heads of crime, cluster managers, regional support units, Crown Court staff, Magistrates’ Court staff, clerks to the Justices, Royal Courts of Justice - Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) staff, Lord Chief Justice, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales, Lords Justices of Appeal, Presiding Judges, High Court Judges, Queen’s Bench Division, Crown Court Judges, resident judges, district judges (Magistrates’ Courts), chairmen of the Justices, Council of Circuit Judges.
  • copies sent to: Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, National Crime Agency, College of Policing, national policing lead on drugs, Police Scotland, Border Force, Judicial College, Magistrates’ Association, National Bench Chairmen’s Forum

Drug legislation

UK statutory instrument:

  • Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2014 (SI 2014/1352)

UK statutory instruments devolved to Northern Ireland:

  • Misuse of Drugs (Designation) (Amendment) (No.2) (England, Wales and Scotland) Order 2014 (SI 2014/1376)
  • Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) (England, Wales and Scotland) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/1377)

Criminal law

England and Wales:

  • Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 (Amendment) Order 2014 (SI2014/1365)
  • Penalties for Disorderly Behaviour (Amount of Penalty) (Amendment) Order 2014 (SI2014/1383)

This circular draws attention to the contents of the above statutory instruments (SIs), SI 2014/1352, SI 2014/1376 and SI 2014/1377, which relate to drug control provisions applying to khat, and SI 2014/1365 and SI 2014/1383, which relate to the availability of penalty notices for disorder for policing the simple possession offence of khat in England and Wales.

All these SIs come into force at 00:01 on 24 June 2014.

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2014 classifies khat as a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (the 1971 Act).

Khat is defined as the leaves, stems and shoots of the plant of the species Catha edulis and is listed as ‘khat’ to be subject to control as a Class C drug listed in Part III of Schedule 2 to the 1971 Act.

The Misuse of Drugs (Designation) (Amendment) (No.2) (England, Wales and Scotland) Order 2014 amends the Misuse of Drugs (Designation) Order 2001 which ‘designates’ controlled drugs to which section 7(4) of 1971 Act applies because they have no recognised medicinal or legitimate uses outside of research.

This means it is unlawful to possess, supply, produce, import or export designated drugs except under the required Home Office licence for research or other special purposes.

The Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) (England, Wales and Scotland) Regulations 2014 amend Schedule 1 to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (the 2001 Regulations) where designated drugs are listed.

Annex A sets out the bespoke codes for recording khat-related offences and offenders so that the police and the courts can use them for statistical and monitoring purposes within the Home Office recorded crime and Ministry of Justice court appearance database.

Annex B sets out summary guidelines to police forces for providing evidence of the identification of khat and where to obtain copies of the forensic strategy for seized khat.

The SIs together with explanatory memoranda are available at They are also published by The Stationery Office. Telephone orders/general enquiries: 0870 600 5522 or online at

Published 18 June 2014
Last updated 23 June 2014 + show all updates
  1. Annexes a and b updated.
  2. First published.