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Mexico: First Cases Approved under Law Granting Amnesty to Criminals Incarcerated for Certain Crimes

(May 3, 2021) On April 22, 2021, the Mexican government announced that it had approved the release from prison of five convicted individuals as provided by the Amnesty Law adopted one year earlier. The Amnesty Law grants persons incarcerated for committing certain crimes the right to apply for amnesty, provided that applicable requirements are met. […]

France: High Court Issues Ruling on Insanity Defense

(Apr. 29, 2021) On April 14, 2020, the Cour de cassation, France’s highest court for civil and criminal matters, confirmed that defendants could not be judged under criminal law if they committed murder while in a state of delirium that eliminated (aboli) their discernment. This decision concludes a case referred to in the press as […]

Switzerland: Access to Medical Cannabis Broadened, Pilot Projects for Nonmedical Cannabis to Be Launched

(Apr. 22, 2021) On March 19, 2021, the Swiss parliament approved an amendment to the Swiss Narcotics Act that allows broader access to cannabis for medical use. The amendment is subject to an optional referendum. (Swiss Constitution art. 141.) The deadline for collecting enough signatures to hold a referendum is July 8, 2021. In addition, on […]

New Zealand: Government Indicates that “Drug Checking” Law Will Be Made Permanent

(Apr. 14, 2021) On April 9, 2021, New Zealand’s health minister, Andrew Little, stated in a press release that interim legislation set to expire in December 2021 that enables illegal substances to be tested to verify their contents would be made permanent through legislation passed during this year. The Drug and Substance Checking Legislation Act […]

Italy: New Law Contains Measures on Visas, Territorial Waters, Virtual Proceedings in Drug Trials, and Refugee Centers

(Jan. 22, 2021) On December 20, 2020, Italy’s government issued Law No. 173 of December 18, 2020, which contains new measures concerning visas, vessels in territorial waters, virtual proceedings in drug trafficking prosecutions, and refugee center security and detainee welfare. New Provisions on Student Visas, Resident Visas for Refugees The new legislation allows foreign students who […]

Jamaica: House of Representatives Passes Bills Easing Admission of Drug Crime Evidence

(Jan. 15, 2021) On December 8, 2020, Jamaica’s House of Representatives passed amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act, 1948, and the Evidence Act, 1843. If enacted, the amendments would introduce new procedures for securing and disposing of drugs seized in connection with drug crimes and enable the admission of drug samples and recorded images as […]

Italy: Constitutional Court Limits Drug Searches Conducted Without Judicial Authorization

(Jan. 5, 2021) On November 26, 2020, the Italian Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional a provision in Presidential Decree No. 309 of October 9, 1990, that allows police to conduct searches and seizures in illegal drug cases without previous authorization from a magistrate. (Decision No. 252 of November 26, 2020  (in Italian).)  Article 103, paragraph 3 […]

France: Possession of Small Amounts of Drugs Now Subject to Fines

(Sept. 23, 2020) On September 1, 2020, a French law giving police officers authorization to issue on-the-spot fines to those caught in possession of small amounts of certain drugs entered into force. The new measure, which was passed in 2019 by the French legislature to amend article L3421-1 of the Public Health Code, is by […]

Mexico: President Signs Law Granting Amnesty to Criminals Incarcerated for Certain Crimes

(Apr. 24, 2020) On April 22, 2020, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador signed into law a bill passed by Mexico’s Senate two days earlier granting amnesty to persons incarcerated for the commission of certain crimes provided that applicable requirements are met. These crimes include the possession of narcotics in small quantities under a number […]

Australia: ACT Law Allowing Possession and Cultivation of Cannabis for Personal Use Comes into Effect

(Feb. 13, 2020) On January 31, 2020, Australian Capital Territory (ACT) legislation allowing the possession and cultivation of cannabis for personal use, which had been passed by the ACT Parliament in September 2019, came into effect. The Drugs of Dependence (Personal Cannabis Use) Amendment Act 2019 (ACT) amended the Drugs of Dependence Act 1989 (ACT) to remove penalties for persons over […]