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Drugs

To compensate for recently-imposed sanctions on the trade of its natural resources, as well as other economic sanctions, North Korea - also known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) - has allegedly boosted the illegal domestic production of crystal methamphetamine.

“North Korean state companies and merchants have been waiting for the export markets to re-open ever since sanctions began having a significant impact [earlier] this year.

Now [that] trade has been shut down for the coal exporters due to the country’s missile launches ... they are turning to drug production and smuggling as a replacement,” a DPRK-based source claimed, according to DailyNK.

“The base ingredient [phenylacetic acid] is smuggled in from China and then sold to producers in North Korea, who make the 'ice'", the source added.

The methamphetamine is then trafficked domestically and internationally by non-state actors who have gained tacit complicity from the state, another source alleges: "government officials use the drug supply chain as an opportunity to take bribes, resulting in pronounced levels of corruption and bribery”.

Illegal involvement with drug markets may seem especially attractive to the DPRK regime, as sanctions have led to the country being increasingly economically cut-off from legal global markets. talkingdrugs.org
A company which makes cannabis products has bought an entire town in California and plans to turn it into a "destination" for marijuana.

American Green has agreed a deal to buy the town of Nipton for $5m (£3.8m), so the company will own 120 acres of land, which includes a school building, a hotel, mineral baths and a general store.

They also want to power the town with renewable energy.

"We are excited to lead the charge for a true green rush," American Green's president David Gwyther said in a statement to Time.

"The cannabis revolution that's going on here in the US has the power to completely revitalise communities in the same way gold did during the 19th Century."

"The gold rush built this city," he adds. "The green rush can keep it moving the way people envisioned it years ago." bbc.co.uk
Mexican police say they have killed 19 gunmen in a shootout in the northern state of Sinaloa.

Five police officers were injured in the confrontation.

It started on Friday night in the town of Villa Union and ended after a multiple car chase in Aguaje, a few kilometres away - both in Mazatlán.

The region has seen fierce in-fighting in the powerful Sinaloa drugs cartel since the arrest of its leader, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, last year.

The security forces seized some 20 weapons and three pick-up trucks from the gang.

This was one of the worst clashes in the south of Sinaloa in recent months, local media reported. bbc.com
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