What amount of drugs counts as intent to supply?
We asked drug dealers about their experiences
From Between the Lines: what you really need to know about drugs, a special report by The Tab.
It’s the first Saturday after pay day. Three months ago you bought your tickets and your ASOS delivery arrived yesterday. There’s only one thing left to organise – the drugs to get you as spangled as the sequin top you just signed for. You pick up the phone and call your dealer. But you’re also going out with seven of your mates and, for the sake of convenience, it makes sense for you to band together. You’ve got more purchasing power and can save yourselves the bus journey to Mile End. Here in lies the problem.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service you would be prosecuted for possession with intent to supply.
The letter of the law says you can infer intent to supply from several factors which include possession of a quantity inconsistent with personal use, possession of a variety of drugs or possession of drugs split into smaller denominations. Regardless of the fact you are about to supply drugs to your mates at predrinks – those four grams of coke and eight bags of ket, which combined together would be able to sedate an angry cow, are likely enough to make you look like a dealer. The maximum sentence for supplying class As is life, for classes B and C it’s 14 years.
The key word in this instance is likely because, after speaking to several drug dealers, the decision to distinguish between possession and possession with intent to supply essentially seems discretionary. As well as being largely reliant on your personality, respect and not coming across as a hooded delinquent type.
Henry, weed, Birmingham
I know instances where someone has been caught by the police in their car with an ounce of weed in separate baggies, and scales, and he’s been let off. Without any form of punishment. Literally a caution. I’m thinking of one person in particular. Then again I know people who have been caught with that amount and had to go to court. In the end I think it’s the policeman’s discretion.
I don’t know the reason he got off but he was a grammar school boy and he’s quite well spoken so maybe that has some sort of influence on it. He’s not your average chav.
I’ve been stopped a few times too. I had weed in my car and got pulled over quite a few times, but I’ve never been caught. So yeah, I got pulled over and had a load of weed in the car, it absolutely stank. But it was hidden in my boxers. They literally tore the car apart but they didn’t find anything. They went in because it smells so obvious.
I don’t know why they didn’t search my boxers. They have to take you to the police station and obviously it must be so much paperwork for the police to do all that – I don’t know what it is – but they just didn’t do it and they let me go. There are so many times it’s happened but I’ve never been caught. The main thing I used to do was keep it in my boxers, no matter how much as well, just wrap it up well put it in your boxers and never, no matter what, say you’ve got anything on you.
I can think of a time this guy got caught with weed in his car. It was an ounce. Caught in his car with an ounce, one gram bagged up with other bags and scales. He just spoke to the police how he’s an apprentice and earns three pounds an hour and how he got messed up with his job and they let him off scot free. But then he’s someone the police are aware of.
From my point of view it seems completely up to the discretion of the officer. There’s no other way of putting it. I haven’t looked into it but there might be a set amount or weight you’re allowed to have, but it’s usually the evidence that surrounds it – scales, bags and mobile phones. The mobile phone is a big one.
Alex, cocaine and MDMA, Cardiff and London
I don’t know anyone in Cardiff who has been stopped. The police are very relaxed. I don’t know anyone who gets stopped and caught. The stop and search rates in Cardiff compared to London – I’ve never been stopped and searched in Cardiff. In London it’s a bit more normal for the police to stop you.
I know people that have been caught with six or seven grams on them at once and they’ve been taken down the station and their houses searched. Six or seven grams of coke. All in different bags. If you had a massive bag you could say that it’s for personal use because you can say you’ve got a massive problem. If it’s all bagged up it’s obvious you’ve got intent to supply.
I think marijuana is pretty lenient. I know it’s a class B but it used to be a class C and no one really looks at it as a hard drug.
If you’re a first timer they will send you on your way because it’s not worth their time. If you go to prison for selling weed you probably have to be growing it or you’d have to have a bar [nine ounces] or something. Because I think for a lot of people, smoking weed is so common. I know people who pick up half an ounce to an ounce a week just to smoke for themselves.
Weed is definitely the one where people get off with personal use. Coke or mandy bagged up in London then from what I have witnessed and seen you will usually get your house searched.
Anything over six or seven isn’t going to end well. London is a lot more strict. I honestly think in Cardiff if you got caught as a student with six grams of mandy I don’t think it would even go as far as it does in London. The police presence is a lot smaller and it’s a lot more relaxed.
John, weed, cocaine and MDMA, Cardiff
I know people who have been stopped for possession and people who have been stopped and done for intent to supply. It depends on how the police view you and how you portray yourself.
If you look chavvy you’re more likely to get done than if you are middle class. A large amount on you and you’re a dodgy guy is completely different if you get stopped and you’re a uni student. The person being searched completely dictates how they treat you.
If they wanted to catch people in possession the police know where to find people, but it doesn’t do them any good. They could stand outside a big house night and do everyone, it won’t do them any good. It’s almost a social thing, you won’t get done for possession unless you’re being very, very blatant.
The most I’ve ever carried is about a nine bar [nine ounces]. I try and keep my contact with the drugs to a minimum so I spend as little time with it as possible. With weed you’re more likely to get away with personal use and buying in bulk because of the perception that coke is more associated with violence. It’s not as hard. There’s a difference between buying in one bag and multiple bags.
If you’ve got it in one bag you say I bought it in bulk for myself. If you have it in multiple bags it looks like you’re gonna sell it.
I know someone who got caught with an ounce of coke [28 grams] and they ended up getting personal use, and didn’t get anything other than that. If you get caught with a big bulk you need to claim that you’re an addict and you can get away with it sometimes depending on the circumstance. If you get caught with just a couple of bags it can be worse.
The way you behave towards a policeman depends if you think they’re going to find it on you. They want respect from you, so you should cooperate if you don’t think they’ll find it and respect them. If you’re carrying it around put it either in the sole of your shoe or down your balls because they’re not allowed to strip you.