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Hi,

I'm considering starting an online store selling products.  At the moment I'm just fishing about for ideas of products to sell, and am still in the process of deciding, but I wanted to check the exact legality of what constitutes 'legal' and 'illegal' when selling N02, if it's intended for catering. 

 

I've been searching for a concrete explanation, but even the government website seems pretty vague on the subject. What exactly constitutes  'reason to believe [the product] may be inhaled for the purposes of intoxication'? Would I have to request some form of proof of a catering licence or something similar to sell the product legally? 

 

Thanks in advance, I'm just checking because I obviously don't want to into any trouble! Do you recommend I get professional legal advice?

 

Many thanks,

N

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5 minutes ago, Nando said:

Hi,
I'm considering starting an online store selling products.  At the moment I'm just fishing about for ideas of products to sell, and am still in the process of deciding, but I wanted to check the exact legality of what constitutes 'legal' and 'illegal' when selling N02, if it's intended for catering. 

I've been searching for a concrete explanation, but even the government website seems pretty vague on the subject. What exactly constitutes  'reason to believe [the product] may be inhaled for the purposes of intoxication'? Would I have to request some form of proof of a catering licence or something similar to sell the product legally? 

Thanks in advance, I'm just checking because I obviously don't want to into any trouble! Do you recommend I get professional legal advice?

 

Many thanks,

N

So, in brief, your looking to start your own business, not sure of the legalities which may DIRECTLY result in the loss of your business or be personally subject to fines, and whether its worthwhile getting your on, independent legal advise?   
Your supplier could/should provide some guidance, if nothing else, what are their T&Cs to you, if they don't have any or your thinking of buying from a less than legit source then perhaps your business plan is in need of a full review.  
The polite suggestion is to seek your own legal advise as it will affect you and your future business.  

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Although nitrous oxide has been legal in the past, since the Psychoactive Substances Act came into effect on 26 May 2016, it is now illegal to supply or import nitrous oxide for human consumption.

If you're pretending to sell it for catering but actually are not then you could be prosecuted. For example if you were selling to individuals rather than businesses then you would have some explaining to do. 

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52 minutes ago, Sectioned Detection said:

Although nitrous oxide has been legal in the past, since the Psychoactive Substances Act came into effect on 26 May 2016, it is now illegal to supply or import nitrous oxide for human consumption.

If you're pretending to sell it for catering but actually are not then you could be prosecuted. For example if you were selling to individuals rather than businesses then you would have some explaining to do. 

There isn't even a need as a purchased to pretend to be a catering company.  No reason why I/they can't buy it for catering purposes (for example) and yet have no need to be a business, I may well want to have fluffy cream for a private function, I have absolutely no need to prove I'm a business/ catering company.  
Pretty slim requirements on the retailers to remain legit but it looks like our OP knows that already!  Alas that can also mean pretty easy to circumvent those requirements.

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Never said you couldn't, as business, sell to individuals. However if that was all you sold to then it would start to build a bigger picture. Hence why I said 'some explaining to do' rather than they would be commiting an offence. 

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2 hours ago, Sectioned Detection said:

Never said you couldn't, as business, sell to individuals. However if that was all you sold to then it would start to build a bigger picture. Hence why I said 'some explaining to do' rather than they would be commiting an offence. 

equally,  a USP or niche part of the market is a provider selling not to companies, big players etc, rather they sell to the small scale consumer, with a  law that is far from clear cut and clearly set out with opportunities for all involved to get it wrong.

Edited by blueb

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I understand I may be a little behind with this reply; it's also not entirely relevant. Interesting none the less.

A number of years ago a UK company was selling RFID microchips (the same type used in animals) which end-users could self-implant in their hands!! These microchips certainly had no CE certification and we're unfit for human implantation. To "get-around" this and cover their own back, the website simply requested the end-user to read and accept T&Cs stating they understood the tags were not for such a purpose and will-not be implanted.

There certainly is nothing illegal about selling N02 to either personal or professional consumers. You are simply required to ensure what you sell is not for human consumption.

I would imagine if you were running a catering website, no-one would think twice. However I should think a joke/party website might land you with some difficult questions. I guess it comes down to this - are you planning to sell N02 for human consumption or not? If not, then I'm sure you have nothing to worry about.

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I'd have to wonder about who wrote the law on this, surely if it is used to make fluffy cream stuff it is being consumed?

However, as others have said, it may depend on the context in which you're selling it. If you sell catering supplies then you're probably all right. But it would also help to have some written procedures that all staff are trained in to ensure that it is sold for catering use. You may decide to only sell to over 18s, I'd also suggest a limit to the number of canisters you sell to one person. If you have someone who is not in the catering business but wants to buy more than one box, it is likely that they're not making 100 cream teas for a garden party with friends.

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