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Guatemala discovers cocaine production facilities
The Guatemalan military has announced the discovery of several coca plantations in a mountainous area of eastern Guatemala. Until now it was thought that, although involved in cocaine trafficking, Guatemala was not a cocaine producing country. The discovery of several coca plantations and processing laboratories was made after the military was granted emergency powers following the murder of three soldiers by drug traffickers.
Ecuador government approves medical cannabis
The national assembly in Ecuador has approved medical cannabis legislation. The new law will allow medical cannabis use and cultivation and re-classifies hemp so that it is no longer a prohibited crop. Regulations will limit the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content in all medical cannabis products to 1%.
Juul to provide age verification technology
E-cigarette company JUUL has announced that it will supply shops with age verification technology for use at the point of sale. The technology means that sale systems will become locked once a retailer scans a JUUL product with a completed purchase only possible when a valid government ID has also been scanned. The technology will also limit purchase to one JUUL product per customer.
US states of Michigan and New York ban e-cigarette flavourings, California withdraws
Michigan and New York state officials have banned flavoured e-cigarettes to try and deter young people from vaping. They are the first US states to do so and have banned all flavours apart from menthol and tobacco. Michigan has also banned advertising that promotes e-cigarettes as ‘clean’, ‘healthy’ or ‘safe’. Similar legislation in California was shelved after concerns about the impact on middle eastern traditions and hookah products.
US report on increased vaping among US students
A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that 27.5% of high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days compared to 20.8% in 2018. The report also highlights that fruit, menthol and mint flavours were popular, with 60% of teen vapers using these flavours.
US state of North Carolina sues e-cigarette companies
The state attorney of North Carolina has filed lawsuits against eight e-cigarette companies. The lawsuits allege that those companies advertised their products to children and contributed to increased vaping among young people in the state. Sales of e-cigarettes to under 18s are currently illegal in North Carolina.
CDC investigation into suspected vaping deaths continues
The US Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) continues to investigate the cause of deaths attributed to vaping in the US. There are now over 500 cases of severe lung illness and 11 confirmed fatalities that are being included in their investigation. It is reported that most cases involve vaped THC products or products bought from non-regulated sources.
Johns Hopkins university opens Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research in US
Johns Hopkins university has opened a centre to study psychedelic compounds such as LSD and psilocybin. The research programme will focus on how these substances might be used to treat mental health problems such as addiction, anorexia and depression. It is the first such research institute to be opened in the US and has been established with $17m of funding from the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation and from private donors.
DEA to expand US cannabis research
The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has announced that it will expand regulations and issue more cultivation licences to enable more cannabis research to be conducted. There is currently just one organisation licenced to cultivate cannabis for research in the US. The DEA states that 542 people are currently registered to carry out research on medical cannabis in the US.
Universities launch cannabis degree programmes
Two new cannabis focused university courses have been launched in North America. One in the University of Maryland focuses on medical cannabis and covers issues of medical care, science and policy. A second, online course has been launched by the University of Guelph in Canada as part of its horticulture programme and focuses on cultivation techniques including crop management, growing systems, harvesting and packaging.