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Drugs

The City of Vancouver says it incurred almost a quarter of a million dollars in costs related to two 4/20 marijuana day of protest rallies in April 2017.

According to a release from the city, the total cost for both events was $245,379.

This includes costs to the parks, fire and police departments, as well as costs for sanitation, traffic management and emergency management.

The city says the Sunset Beach event cost it $170,005 and another separate event at the Vancouver Art Gallery cost $75,374. The city notes that neither event was sanctioned by the city or the park board.

Of the $245,379, the most significant single cost was for policing, which the city says cost $170,670 between the two events.

The city says the figures do not include costs to BC Ambulance Service or Vancouver Coastal Health, or regular staff wages. cbc.ca
France’s newly-appointed interior minister has said that personal cannabis possession may no longer be prosecuted from as soon as September, although this change may be accompanied by unprecedented strict rules on people with convictions for selling drugs.

Gérard Collomb, the Minister of the Interior, said that new rules are set to be implemented under which someone found in possession of cannabis will be given a ticket and required to pay a fine, instead of being prosecuted or imprisoned.

The plans, which he revealed during an interview with French news channel BFMTV on 24 May, could be in place "within three to four months", he said.

Emmanuel Macron, who was inaugurated as president on 14 May, has previously indicated that a fine for cannabis possession would be up to €100 (£86/$111).

Prior to his successful election, Macron said that the “regime of contraventions would be sufficient to sanction [cannabis use]”, described cannabis prohibition as “[posing] a security problem”, and described the legal regulation of the drug as potentially "efficient". talkingdrugs.org
Quebec's private, tight regulatory framework will be responsible for the sale of retail cannabis retail come its legalization in July 2018.

Chaired by the Minister for Public Health Lucie Charlebois, the group is has eliminated the hypothesis of entrusting the sale of recreational cannabis to convenience stores. 

Finance Minister Carlos Leitão has argued selling marijuana at the current network of pharmacies would be strange, or even "unnatural" as they can not a product harmful to health.

The private sector could nevertheless operate in parallel with a public network, kept out of grocery stores, video lottery terminals, bars, and gaming rooms, under the responsibility of Loto-Québec.  lapresse.ca
According to research published in the 'New England Journal of Medicine,' children taking cannabidiol experienced a 23% greater decrease in the frequency of severe (often fatal) convulsive seizures, compared to children taking a placebo.

Following the 'gold standard' in medicine, the double-blind placebo-controlled human trial was entirely randomized.

Despite the generally positive results, most study participants reported side effects that included vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea and some liver issues cnn.com
One of Australia’s most wanted men who has been on the run for almost a year was arrested at an upmarket Melbourne hotel.

Piet Luan Ta, 32,  was convicted of drug trafficking and was due to appear at Brisbane Supreme Court in July 2016 for sentencing, but never showed.

The alleged drug kingpin was arrested by police on at The Olsen Hotel in South Yarra on Monday after a nationwide manhunt.

A smirking Mr Ta told 9NEWS he had been “just chilling” for the past 12 months despite being listed as one of the nation’s 19 most wanted criminals in a national campaign last year.

He has now landed in Queensland after being extradited from Melbourne. 9news.com.au
Making a bong out of a plastic bottle and garden hose is more than just a favourite pastime, it turns out Aussies are more partial to hitting the billy than anyone else on the planet.

This is the finding of the world’s biggest annual drug survey, which had more than 115,000 participants from 50 countries, including 5,700 respondents from Australia.

The global drug Survey, conducted by an independent research company in London, provides the largest in-depth examination at how drug habits vary between regions.

Locally, more than 75 per cent of Aussies admitted to using illicit drugs at one point in their life, while 30 per cent confessed to indulging in illegal substances a month before the survey.

While not the global leaders in cannibas use overall, we are just below the global average in terms of people who enjoy a wake and bake, with 9 per cent of people admitting to smoking a joint between five minutes to an hour after waking up.

While our neighbours in NZ prefer smoking straight weed, 45 per cent of Aussies said they prefer to spin their weed with tobacco. news.com.au
North America is in the midst of a drug overdose disaster. In British Columbia, Canada, where nearly 1,000 people died of overdose in 2016, officials have declared a public health emergency. 

While over-prescription of painkillers and contamination of the illegal opioid supply by fentanyl, a potent synthetic analgesic, are at the heart of the problem, opioid users are not the only ones at risk.

Public health officials in British Columbia (BC) are warning that fentanyl has been detected in many drugs circulating on the illicit market, including crack cocaine.

Now Canadian scientists are working on an unconventional substitution for it, research done by the BC Centre on Substance Use in Vancouver shows that using cannabis may enable people to consume less crack.

Could marijuana become to crack what methadone is to heroin - a legal, safe and effective substitute drug that reduces cravings and other negative impacts of problematic drug use? sciencealert.com
Mushrooms are the safest of all the drugs people take recreationally, according to this year’s Global Drug Survey.

Of the more than 12,000 people who reported taking psilocybin hallucinogenic mushrooms in 2016, just 0.2% of them said they needed emergency medical treatment, a rate at least five times lower than that for MDMA, LSD and cocaine.

“Magic mushrooms are one of the safest drugs in the world,” said Adam Winstock, a consultant addiction psychiatrist and founder of the Global Drug Survey, pointing out that the bigger risk was people picking and eating the wrong mushrooms.

“Death from toxicity is almost unheard of with poisoning with more dangerous fungi being a much greater risk in terms of serious harms.” theguardian.com
A clear majority of Canadians want the federal government to issue pardons to fellow citizens who have a criminal record for marijuana possession, a new poll has found.

The survey stands to buttress the call of marijuana activists, lawyers and politicians who argue that the old criminal records will be a legal anomaly once marijuana is legalized for recreational use by all adults.

The federal government tabled legislation last month that aimed to legalize marijuana by the middle of next year.

Despite widespread pressure, the government has refused to call on law enforcement to stop charging marijuana users with simple possession while the legislation goes through Parliament, or to promise an amnesty for past convictions after the adoption of the new law. theglobeandmail.com
Carrier pigeons are the latest and greatest in drug smuggling to Kuwait.

Customs officers at the Al-Ebdelli border entry point found a homing pigeon attempting to smuggle 178 amphetamine pills wrapped around its body.

Acting as a flying drug mule, the bird was spotted coming from Iraq.

Officers pursued the animal and were able to finally capture the bird after it perched atop a building with a belt around its body attaching the pills. gdnonline.com