Trump's troubling 'bromance' with Philippines' drug war strongman

Posted on May 8th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East AsiaThe Philippines' inimitable President Rodrigo Duterte is being his usual charming self. The United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, arrived in the country on May 5 to attend a conference on drug policy and human rights at the University of the Philippines. Callamard is of course a harsh critic of Duterte's campaign of police and paramilitary terror against low-level drug dealers and users. Duterte wasted not a moment in voicing defiance, warning drug users: "And here's the shocker: I will kill you. I will really kill you. And that's why the rapporteur of the UN is here, investigating extrajudicial killing."

Reynosa shoot-outs: death throes of Gulf Cartel?

Posted on May 7th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

MexicoMexico's northeastern border state of Tamaulipas—just across from Texas' Gulf Coast—has for years been engulfed in an under-reported war, as the Gulf Cartel and its rogue offspring the Zetas battle for dominance over the narco-trafficking "plaza" (zone of control). The current flare-up in the border town of Reynosa may signal a turning point. Street gun-battles have become so common in the town that authorities have instituted a color-coded alert system to warn citizens. The town has been on "red alert" repeatedly over the past days, and there are signs that the long struggle is entering an endgame.

Florida: is it 'medical marijuana' if you can't smoke it?

Posted on May 3rd, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

FloridaFollowing last-minute changes, the lower house of Florida's legislature on May 2 voted 105-9 to pass HB 1397, ostensibly following through on the voter mandate to establish a medical marijuana program in the Sunshine State. But those last-minute changes included both a limit on the number of license holders—and a ban on actually smoking herbaceous cannabis. House sponsor and Republican leader Ray Rodrigues blamed fears of interference from the Trump administration, telling the Tampa Bay Times: "We have to make it legal and available to Florida residents, but we have to do it in such a way that it complies to the guidance we’ve been given by the federal government."

'Green gold' rush as Colombia legalizes medical cultivation

Posted on May 2nd, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

ColombiaAfter Colombia's government issued long-awaited regulations on legal cannabis cultivation for the medical market, the southern region of Cauca is anticipating a boom—and a fight for the soul of the nascent industry. On April 10, the Health Ministry released Decree 613, finally implementing Colombia's promised medical marijuana program. The decree guarantees "secure and informed" access to cannabis seeds by licensed companies, fully implementing the program established in principle by Law 1787, passed in July 2016.

US Marines back to Afghanistan's opium heartland

Posted on May 1st, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

opiatesUS Marines this week returned to Helmand province, now the epicenter both of Afghanistan's Taliban insurgency and opium production. Ostensibly, the mission is to train Afghan forces struggling to stem the insurgency, but they certainly have the power to fire if fired upon. Many of the 300 Marines coming to Helmand under NATO's Resolute Support training mission are veterans of previous tours in the province—where almost 1,000 coalition troops (mostly US and British) were killed fighting the Taliban before they pulled out in 2014. When they left, as part of that year's supposed "withdrawal" of US troops from Afghanistan, they handed over the sprawling desert base they dubbed Camp Leatherneck to the Afghan army, hoping not to return.

Medical marijuana bill advances in Mexico

Posted on May 1st, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

cannabis Mexico's lower-house Chamber of Deputies on April 28 approved a bill to allowing use, production and distribution of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes. The vote was an overwhelming 371 in favor and seven against with 11 abstentions. The legislation was already approved by the Mexican Senate in December and now goes to the desk of President Enrique Pena Nieto for his signature. The passage follows a national debate on the question in the media and various social forums across the country.

Meth plague hits Bangladesh

Posted on April 28th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

South AsiaThe rural marshlands of Bangladesh have become the latest part of the world to be hit by the unhappy global plague of methamphetamine use. More and more of the country's struggling peasants are taking to "yaba," little pink sugar-coated pills made from caffeine and meth that are flooding in from neighboring Burma. Annual seizures of yaba in Bangladesh increased by a jaw-dropping 80,000% over the past decade, authorities say. A disturbing on-the-scene report from Public Radio International emphasizes that in conservative and Muslim rural Bangladesh, yaba is not being used as a "party drug." The speed pills are most often used to get folks through long days of hard labor.

No, Donald, your wall won't 'stop the drugs'

Posted on April 27th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

border wallJust three days before the deadline to avert a government shutdown, Donald Trump blinked April 25, backing off from the demand that his planned border wall receive funding (to the whopping tune of $11.4 billion) in the spending measure now before Congress. But just two days earlier, in an interview with the Associated Press, Trump again invoked the need to protect the country from drugs as mandating his wall—and making absurdly hubristic claims about its effectiveness to do so...

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