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Florida and Seminole Tribe reach gambling agreement
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the state’s Seminole Tribe have signed an agreement to legalise sports betting and to expand gambling in the state. The agreement will allow the tribe to offer sports gambling, craps, and roulette at its casinos. If the bill is passed by the Florida State Legislature, Florida will become the latest state to legalise sports gambling since a federal ban was lifted in 2018.
Cannabis use up 56% in the US
Cresco Labs and YouGov have reported that, in the US, there was an estimated 56% increase in past year cannabis use in 2021 compared with 2018. The report, based on a survey of 5,000 Americans, also suggested that 43% of people over the age of 65 tried cannabis for the first time in the past year. The survey also reported that levels of consumption were similar among men and women.
Saudi Arabia bans import and transit of fruit and vegetables from Lebanon
Following the seizure of more than 5.3 million Captagon pills hidden in a pomegranate consignment arriving from Lebanon, authorities in Saudi Arabia have banned the importation and transit of all fruit and vegetables from the country. The ban will remain in place until Lebanese authorities implement measures to stop such operations.
Malaysia police seize $2.3 million worth of cannabis and heroin
Malaysia’s Central Narcotics Bureau has confiscated more than 40kg of illicit substances during a drug haul in Choa Chu Kang, Malaysia. Among the drugs found were the largest amounts of cannabis (23.6kg) and heroin (16.5kg) to be seized in a single haul.
Four hundred kilograms of illicit drugs found in Slovenia’s biggest drug haul
Following a 15-month investigation involving police from Austria, Estonia and Germany, Slovenia’s police officers confiscated 400kg of illicit drugs from residential properties in the Maribor and Ljubljana areas. Among the substances discovered were 9.6kg of heroin and 4.7kg of cocaine. The discovery is one of the biggest recorded in Slovenia.
Malawi’s President proposes swapping tobacco for cannabis cultivation
Malawi’s President, Lazarus Chakwera, has stated that the country should rely less on tobacco trade and should move towards increased cannabis cultivation. Chakwera suggested that, despite constituting 60% of Malawi’s income, the tobacco industry is in decline because of low international demand. He called on the Ministry of Agriculture to begin the transition towards increased cannabis cultivation and trade.
Roadside alcohol breathalysing to be implemented in Sri Lanka
Following an increase in alcohol-related driving offences and accidents recorded in Sri Lanka, the Deputy Inspector General has launched a special operation comprising random roadside breathalyser testing at expressway entry and exit points. Police have also launched a campaign advising motorists to avoid driving following alcohol consumption.
Crystal methamphetamine use increasing among young people in Pakistan
According to Pakistan’s anti-narcotics force, there has been an increase in crystal methamphetamine use among young people from educated backgrounds. There is a lack of reliable data, however, which makes it difficult to estimate the exact prevalence and provide comprehensive treatment services. Many people in Pakistan are deterred from seeking treatment for drug use disorders because of stigma around drug use.
A quarter of Scots reported ‘at risk’ drinking during pandemic
According to data from a survey using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, 27% of Scottish people were found to be at increasing or higher risk of harmful drinking, or possible risk of alcohol dependence. Of those reporting increased alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic, 30% said they had done so due to stress and anxiety.
Lesotho becomes first African country to supply European Union with medical cannabis
A cannabis company in Lesotho, MG Health, has been granted official approval to export its cannabis flower as a medical ingredient to the European Union. The agreement has made Lesotho the first African country to supply medical cannabis to the European Union. The country is currently responsible for 70% of South Africa’s cannabis market.
Drug-related deaths increase by 87% in Manitoba, Canada
According to data from Manitoba’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, overdose deaths in the Canadian province increased by 87% between 2019 and 2020. Fentanyl was implicated in 254 of the 372 recorded drug-related deaths. Recorded overdose deaths have increased across Canada since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
California Senate approves supervised drug consumption sites
The California State Senate has approved a bill that will allow supervised drug consumption facilities to operate in Oakland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles County. The new legislation will enable people who inject drugs to do so in a safe space and under the supervision of trained staff. The bill must be approved by the California State Assembly before it can proceed to the Democratic governor.
Latvian parliament rejects amendment to gambling regulations
A proposed amendment to the Law on Gambling and Lotteries has been rejected by the Latvian parliament. The legislative draft was intended to reduce gambling in the country by placing a limit on the number of licenced gambling premises and by restricting casino locations to four or five-star hotels.
Police to approve alcohol licensing in Turkey
To limit the number of Turkish municipalities issuing alcohol licences, the Turkish Interior Ministry has proposed new licensing restrictions. The new policy requires business owners applying for an alcohol licence to seek prior approval from law enforcement. If businesses fail to do so, they could be fined up to 25,000 liras (approx. £2,200) and ordered to shut down.
Opioid maker Mallinckrodt agrees bankruptcy plan
Pharmaceutical company Mallinckrodt has filed a bankruptcy plan that has the support of the majority of opioid litigation claimants. The bankruptcy plan relates to Mallinckrodt’s role in the US opioid epidemic. Mallinckrodt is due to face two trials in the US where it is claimed that the company illegally marketed opioids and failed to provide appropriate oversight of large shipments of opioid painkiller drugs.
US medical cannabis legislation to improve access for veterans
US Senator Brian Schatz has reintroduced legislation that would allow doctors at the US Department of Veterans Affairs to prescribe medical cannabis to veterans in states with established medical cannabis programmes. Currently, doctors in 36 states can prescribe medical cannabis to patients unless those doctors work for the Department of Veterans Affairs or the patient is a veteran.
US state of Idaho blocks anti-drug constitutional amendment
The Idaho House has rejected an ‘anti-drug’ constitutional amendment proposal that, if passed, would have blocked citizens from using ballot initiatives to vote on legalising or decriminalising drugs. The amendment was voted for by 42 senators with 28 against, just short of the two-thirds majority required for a constitutional amendment to be passed.
New Mexico becomes 17th US state to legalise recreational cannabis use
New Mexico’s governor has approved a bill to decriminalise recreational cannabis use, making it the 17th state to do so. From 29 June 2021, adults over the age of 21 will be permitted to possess up to 2 ounces (52 grams) of cannabis and to grow cannabis plants at home. State-licensed dispensaries are scheduled to start selling cannabis by April 2022.
Norway’s Labour Party rejects plans to decriminalise drugs
The Norwegian government’s proposal to decriminalise possession and use of small quantities of all drugs including heroin, cocaine, and cannabis has been rejected by the Norwegian Labour Party. The Norwegian Labour Party is in favour of reducing penalties for drug users; however, it has argued that legalising all substance use could encourage young people to experiment with using drugs.
Cocaine-related deaths more than double in Australia
Australia’s National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre has reported an increase in the number of cocaine-related deaths during 2019. Since 2016, deaths involving cocaine have more than doubled, from 34 in 2016 to 86 in 2019. Deaths involving amphetamines are also four times higher than those reported a decade ago. The rate was higher in major cities compared with remote areas.