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Next: 'Jimi Hendrix' brand edibles?

Posted on June 9th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

Jimi HendrixWe noted last year that a Seattle-based equity firm is planning to market "Marley Natural" brand cannabis in states where it is legal. Now it seems guitar god Jimi Hendrix is to be thusly immortalized. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Toronto-based Nutritional High International Inc announced this week that it has "entered into an exclusive licensing agreement...under which the Company may manufacture and distribute various marijuana and hemp-based edible products using the song titles and bearing the likeness of iconic guitarist Jimi Hendrix." The products in question, to be marketed under the "Edible Experiences" banner, include "Purple Haze" and "Stone Free" lines. (There's already a Purple Haze cannabis strain developed by Dutch growers, although the song was more likely about the LSD experience.) In a cute twist, the "Stone Free" line is to be a preparation infused with CBD—the cannabinoid that is thought to have medicinal value but doesn't actually get you stoned.

A drone by any other name...

Posted on May 15th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

Shadow WatchRevolution News notes that the Illinois State Police have been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to use drones—but are refusing to actually call them drones. In a statement released to Sun-Times Media Wire, the state police department admitted that it is intentionally avoiding the word "drone" because "it carries the perception of pre-programmed or automatic flight patterns and random, indiscriminate collection of images and information." The force will add "unmanned aircraft" to its list of tools for the next two years. The state police said they worked with legal professionals and the American Civil Liberties Union to minimize the privacy impact on average citizens, and needed the drones primarily for "investigation of major traffic crashes."

China: officialdom hypes drug scare

Posted on May 12th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

ChinaHong Kong's South China Morning Post reports May 12 that Chinese authorities are warning of a rapid rise in abuse of synthetic drugs. The number of "registered abusers" of synthetic drugs—a whopping 1.46 million who get high on methamphetamine, ketamine and ecstasy—for the first time overtook that of registered heroin addicts last year, according to the National Narcotics Control Commission. In total, there were said to be 2.95 million registered abusers of all drugs, but the NNCC estimated the real figure—including those not registered—was over 14 million. NNCC deputy chief Liu Yuejin said cross-border trafficking was also rising because of the increasing demand for drugs in the People's Republic—but also that internal production is rising, wth drug laboratories shifting from coastal areas to inland provinces.

#BlackLivesMatter and the cannabis stigma

Posted on May 4th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

BlackLivesMatterHere we go again. As with Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, conservative pundits are now exploiting the cannabis stigma to tarnish the reputation of Freddie Gray, the young African American man whose death at the hands of the Baltimore police last month led to an uprising in the city, a new national wave of #BlackLivesMatter protests, and finally charges against six officers. Daily Caller gloats in a headline: "Freddie Gray Had A Long Rap Sheet"... But take a look at the provided list of charges: "Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance... Possession of narcotics with intent to distribute... Possession of marijuana... Distribution of narcotics, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance..." Yeah, burglary and assault are on the list as well. But Snopes, examining the veracity of the claim, quotes the Associated Press: "Court records indicate that Gray's arrests were mostly for drug possession/distribution charges and various minor crimes, many of which were not prosecuted."

New York State push for cannabis justice

Posted on April 28th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

New YorkBack in March, Connecticut's Supreme Court, the state's highest, ruled that those convicted of past cannabis possession misdemeanors can have the charges erased from their records because the state decriminalized the herb in 2011. The  unanimous ruling came in the case of Nicholas Menditto, who will now have his 2009 possession conviction expunged from his record. (The Joint Blog, March 17; AP, March 16) Last week, reporter Jon Campbell wrote in New York's Village Voice that activists in the Empire State are hoping for a similar outcome. New York was one of the first states to decriminalize, way back in '77, and the cut-off point for an infraction rather than a misdemeanor is a full ounce (as opposed to a half-ounce under the Connecticut law). But New York pot arrests have ironically continued at the highest rate in the country—especially in the Big Apple, under the aggressive policing since the '90s. The loophole that cops used? Cannabis in public view remains illegal—and suspects are basically forced into pulling out their stashes when stopped by cops and ordered to empty their pockets.

Yemen war fuels dope-for-guns trade

Posted on March 29th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Middle EastThe dizzyingly escalating crisis across the Middle East was ratcheted up several degrees last week as Saudi Arabia and its Gulf State allies intervened in Yemen, launching air-strikes against the Shi'ite rebels that have seized much of the country. Saudi troops are amassing on the border and there are fears that the air campaign, dubbed "Operation Decisive Storm," may soon be followed by a ground invasion. Within Yemen, Sunni tribes and militants in al-Qaeda's orbit are also battling the Shi'ite rebels, known as Houthis. (CNN, Al Jazeera, March 29; Yemen Post, March 22)

Hezbollah connection to Suriname narco-state —not!

Posted on March 11th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

CaribbeanHere we go again: the headline says one thing, the actual text (if you read carefully enough) something else entirely. In the relentless effort to hype a Middle East terrorist connection to the Latin American narco-traffic, the feds just scored a real coup. Dino Bouterse, the son of Suriname's current president and former military dictator Desi Bouterse, was on March 10 sentenced in federal court in New York City to 16 years for attempting to provide material support to Hezbollah, along with narco-trafficking and firearms charges. Bouterse, who was arrested in Panama in 2013 and pled guilty, was an architect of Suriname's Counter-Terrorism Unit (of course).  "Dino Bouterse was supposed to oppose terrorism," said US attorney Preet Bharara. "Instead, Bouterse betrayed his official position and tried to support and aid Hezbollah, including his agreement to assist Hezbollah in acquiring weapons, and conspiring to import cocaine to the US. Today he has been sentenced to a lengthy prison term for those odious crimes."

Israel: legalization goes mainstream

Posted on March 9th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastCannabis legalization as a political platform in Israel has traditionally been the domain of the Green Leaf Party, an idealistic, single-issue effort which has yet to gain even one seat in the Knesset. But Israeli news site YNet reported March 3 that Meretz, a traditional party of the center-left, held a confab at the Zionist Organization of America building in Tel Aviv to promote medical marijuana (at least), with more general legalization also discussed. Entertainment was provided by topical hip-hop/funk outfit Hadag Nachash before headlining speakers including Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg and Dr. Rick Doblin of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Yarden Gazit of the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (JIMS) protested that more than 18,000 criminal cases are opened a year for cannabis-related offenses—despite the fact that only 25% of Israel's populace supports criminalization. Urged  Zandberg in her closing remarks: "If you are a leftist, if you support legalization—vote Meretz."

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