May 11th, 2023
4 mins

This Home Office consultation seeks views to enable the UK Government to determine legitimate uses of nitrous oxide.

It is aimed at organisations or individuals that manufacture, sell, or use nitrous oxide as part of their business or for those who use it in a personal capacity where it is not used for its psychoactive effects, for example when used in home cooking and car maintenance.

This consultation will be used by the government to understand the full range and scale of legitimate uses of nitrous oxide to enable the design of a legal framework that permits its use for legitimate purposes once it becomes a Class “C” controlled drug under the 1971 Act. For the purposes of this consultation, “legitimate use” refers to uses of nitrous oxide which is not for its psychoactive effect in a recreational capacity.

It does this by asking for views on three proposed approaches. Some of these include establishing a requirement to obtain a licence for some actions and purposes. It also asks a series of questions to identify the full range and scale of legitimate uses for nitrous oxide, as well as the mechanisms and nitrous oxide products required for these purposes.

The consultation sets out three proposed approaches to facilitate legitimate use, which are:

  • Introduce a licensing requirement for the import, export, possession, production, or supply of nitrous oxide where this is for a legitimate purpose.
  • Exempt from licensing requirements the import, export, possession, production, and supply of nitrous oxide where this is for legitimate purposes. This would mean no licensing requirements for legitimate purposes.
  • Introduce licensing requirements for the import, export, production, and supply of nitrous oxide and provide an exemption for the possession of nitrous oxide where this is for a legitimate purpose.

It is expected that a different approach may be required for medical, dentistry and veterinary use, in line with the existing scheduling approaches under the 2001 Regulations.

The consultation is open until 27 June 2023.

Home Office
May 2023



Please click on the url below for the full document:

Nitrous oxide, legitimate uses and appropriate controls


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