Jamaica: cabinet introduces ganja legalization bill

Posted on January 23rd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

CaribbeanThe Jamaican cabinet on Jan. 19 approved a bill to decriminalize possession of personal quantities of ganja (as the stuff is endearingly called in Jamaica's legal code). Beyond that, the bill would establish a Cannabis Licensing Authority to oversee cultivation, sale and distribution for medical, spiritual and industrial purposes. Possession of two ounces or less would be a ticketable infraction, leaving no criminal record. While public use would remain banned, the law would establish both a medicinal and religious defense, as well as permiting licensed cultivation of industrial hemp. The bill, officially the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act of 2015, now goes to the Senate for approval. Justice Minister Mark Golding expressed his optimism that the Lower House will move to pass the proposed statute following approval by the Senate.

Mexico: cops arrested in 'disappearance' of journalist

Posted on January 9th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoMexican authorities on Jan. 8 detained 13 members of a local police force in the state of Veracruz in connection with the Jan. 2 abduction of journalist Moisés Sánchez. The detained constitute a third of the police force in the town of Medellín. State prosecutor Luis Ángel Bravo said the men could be held for 30 days while an investigation is underway.  Sánchez was taken from his home by unknown gunmen in civvies. Tests are underway on a body found in the town, to determine if it is the remains of the missing journalist. Sánchez edited a local weekly in Medellín, La Unión (it appears not to have a website), with a reputation for fearless coverage of drug-related violence. The arrests came in the case hours after a group of journalists interrupted a session of the Veracruz legislature in state capital Xalapa with placards reading "7 DAYS WITHOUT MOISES."

Lebanon's hashish valley arms against ISIS

Posted on January 7th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

ISISReporting from Lebanon's hashish heartland of the Bekaa Valley on Jan. 5 Public Radio International spoke to cannabis farmers who say they are ready to resist any ISIS incursion into their fastness. Ali Nasri Shamas, who runs a  mechanized hashish factory in Bouday village, took up arms in 2007 to resist Lebanese government eradication forces. This paid off; the army hasn't been back since 2012. But now the Lebanese army and hash producers are confronting the same enemy. Although officially a wanted man for 35 years now, Shamas happily talks on-camera, alongside a three-ton yield of hash, flanked by masked employees, amid the clatter of processing machines.

2014: international drug war round-up

earth2014 witnessed considerable fraying of the international Drug War consensus—but the horrific violence that finally sparked this long-overdue reckoning continued to take its grim toll. On the upside, Uruguay regsitered its first cannabis clubs, and Jamaica is now studying a decrim initiative. In a very hopeful sign, regional bodies in the Caribbean and West Africa are following suit with studies of potential decrim or legalization. And signs of the failure of the prohibitionist model kept mounting. For a second consecutive year, opium cultivation in Afghanistan broke all previous records—despite some $7 billion spent by the US to combat Afghan opium over the past decade. Hashish busts at sea—especially the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean—also soared. Saudi Arabia went on a beheading spree, targeting drug convicts (as well as those found guilty of adultery, "sorcery" and other such wackery). ISIS (whose beheadings somehow sparked far greater media outrage) started eradicating the cannabis fileds of northern Syria, after the Syrian civil war had sparked a regional hashish boom, with a profusion of militias needing narco-profits to fund their insurgencies. The same cycle that Afghanistan saw with both hashish and opium when the Taliban was in power before 9-11.

Are the FARC narco-traffickers?

Posted on December 21st, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

ColombiaAmid peace talks in Havana, Colombia's FARC guerillas issued an angry communique Dec. 14, insisting "We are a rebel group, not narco-traffickers." This was in response to President Juan Manuel Santos'  suggestion that FARC drug-trafficking could be considered a "political crime," potentially sparing guerilla leaders prosecution. This of course won Santos howls of outrage from the right; now he gets it from the other side. The FARC statement accused the government of trying to "confuse the minds of Colombians" with a "distortion," and decried the existence of a "capitalist narco-trafficking business" in the country. (El EspectadorEl Tiempo, Dec. 14)

Nebraska, Oklahoma challenge Colorado cannabis law

Posted on December 20th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , .

ColoradoIn the most serious challenge yet to Colorado's cannabis legalization policy, the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma took the unusual move of filing a case against it directly with the US Supreme Court. The two states argue that "the State of Colorado has created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system...  Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining Plaintiff States' own marijuana bans, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems." Lawyers for the Cornhusker State and the Sooner State assert that local authorities have registered a big uptick in cannabis entering their towns since Colorado legalized with the voter-approved Amendment 64 in 2012. The suit also claims Colorado's legalization policy violates the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution.

Legal hemp coming to Lakota country?

Posted on December 19th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

South DakotaThe new Justice Department policy to take a hands-off approach to cannabis cultivation on Indian reservations could be a boon for the Lakota Sioux, who have long been pressing their right as a sovereign nation to grow industrial hemp. US Attorney for North Dakota Timothy Purdon (who is also the US Attorney General's pointman for Native American issues) told AP he's not aware of any tribes in either North or South Dakota actively considering a cannabis industry. The tribal council of the Oglala Lakota Nation this year rejected a proposal to allow cannabis cultivation on the Pine Ridge Reservation in southwest South Dakota. The council's Law and Order Committee chair Ellen Fills the Pipe said: "For me, it's a drug. My gut feeling is we're most likely going to shoot it down." (The San Francisco Chronicle's cannabis-friendly Smell the Truth blog couldn't help noting the irony of her name, but also acknowledged fears, realistic or not, that rez pot sales could excacerbate already existing alcohol abuse problems.) But that's the smokable variety, not the industrial. Chairman Dave Archambault of the Standing Rock Sioux, with a reservation straddling North and South Dakota, said that his tribe might consider industrial hemp cultivation.

California Indian tribes to cash in on cannabis? Maybe not...

Posted on December 18th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

CaliforniaIn an historic move to respect Native American sovereignty earlier this month, the US Department of Justice (DoJissued a memo instructing US attorneys to not interfere with tribes cultivating or selling cannabis on reservation lands. The caveat is that the tribes have to be in conformity with state law, limiting the new policy to states that have legalized (Colorado, Washington) or have strong medical marijuana programs (California, Montana). Tribes must also maintain "robust and effective regulatory systems," as John Walsh, US attorney for Colorado, told the Los Angeles Times. But US attorney for North Dakota Timothy Purdon, the Attorney General's pointman on Native American Issues, added: "The tribes have the sovereign right to set the code on their reservations." US News & World Report even speculated: "Marijuana may displace casinos as reservation cash cows."

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