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Priti Patel says she's 'minded' to legalise sales of poppers

Distribution of the drug, which is often used during anal sex, was technically banned in 2016.

2020-08-13

Home Secretary Priti Patel has said she is "minded" to legalise sales of poppers, four years after the distribution of the substance was banned by the government.

In a letter to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), Patel admitted the law on the drug, which is often used during anal sex, is currently "uncertain", BBC New reports.

Possession of poppers is currently not illegal, but their sale was technically banned in 2016 as part of a 'blanket ban' on the production, distribution, sale and supply of psychoactive substances - or 'legal highs'.

Poppers - the slang term for amyl nitrate - are a chemical that is inhaled to produce a short-lived 'high', increase blood flow and relax muscles.

Their inclusion in the Psychoactive Substances Act was much disputed at the time, with gay MP Crispim Blunt 'coming out' as a poppers user in parliament and declaring their inclusion in the legislation to be be "fantastically stupid".

Despite the ban, the use and sale and poppers has remained widespread across the UK in the years since the ban.

Now, Ms Patel, who has served as Home Secretary since 2019 and consistently voted againt equal marriage, has written to Professor Owen Bowden-Jones, chairman of the ACMD, to say that "the lawfulness of the supply of poppers is uncertain".

She adds: "I am minded to remove this uncertainty by explicitly exempting poppers from the 2016 Act. I would seek the ACMD's advice on an exemption."