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Syria war fuels Lebanon hashish boom?

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

Middle EastA May 20 Reuters report picked up by Israel's dialy Ha'artez portrays Lebanon's government as having basically thown in the towel on cannabis eradiction in the Bekaa Valley, apparently afraid of the war spilling across the border from neighboring Syria. Towns in the Bekaa were hit by rocket fire last year, and the valley continues to be shaken by periodic sectarian attacks related to the fighting across the border in Syria. During Lebanon's own 1975-1990 civil war, the fertile Bekaa Valley produced up to 1,000 tons of hashish annually, before production was nearly stamped out under an aggressive eradication program. "From the 1990s until 2012, cannabis eradication took place on an annual basis," Col. Ghassan Shamseddine, head of Lebanon's drug enforcement unit, told Reuters.  "But in 2012...it was halted because of the situation on the Lebanese borders and the instability in Syria."

Did Missouri decriminalize?

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

leaf Missouri has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country, but became the latest state to remove criminal penalties for simple possession arrests on May 13, when a bill passed earlier this year by the legislature became law without Governor Jay Nixon’s signature. The new law, Senate Bill 491, eliminates jail time for possession of up to 10 grams on a first offense. The new law also reduces possible sentences related to sale and cultivation, lifting the current ban on probation or parole for those with third felony offenses. However, it will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2017, and the protections against incarceration only apply to those without prior marijuana convictions. Additionally, a possession charge will remain a criminal offense, merely reduced to a Class D misdemeanor from a Class A misdemeanor. The Marijuana Policy Project is saying the new law counts as "decriminalization," but Missouri attorney and NORML board member Dan Viets, who helped draft the bill, says, "Nobody should call this decriminalization." (CelebStoner, May 16; Daily Chronic, May 15)

Colombia: FARC renounce narco-profits

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

ColombiaColombia’s government and the FARC guerilla organization announced an agreement May 16, entitled "Solution to the Problem of Illicit Drugs," in which they pledge to work together agianst the narco trade. The FARC, whose top leaders face extradition to the United States on trafficking charges, agreed to "end any relationship" with the illicit drug trade, and cooperate in a "National Program for the substitution of the illicit uses of coca, poppy, and marijuana crops." The accord calls for "integral development plans" for rural communities impacted by the drug trade, to be drawn up with the participation of those communities, in the context of an "Integral Rural Reform." It also calls for an international conference to be held under the auspices of the UN to reconsider global strategies against drugs—the one veiled reference in the agreement to the FARC's earlier proposals to decriminalize cultivation of coca leaf and cannabis. "With this we will eliminate the gasoline that has fuelled the conflict in Colombia—drug trafficking," said the government's lead negotiator, Humberto de la Calle.

Peru: cannabis activists stage sit-in against yellow press

Posted on May 17th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

PeruMembers of the group Legaliza Perú held a sit-in at the doors of Lima's conservative daily newspaper El Comercio on May 16 to protest an opinion piece by columnist Martha Meier that ran a week earlier, with the sneering title of "Y ahora... el lobby de los pastrulos," or "And now... the pastrulo lobby." Pastrulo is Peruvian slang for someone who smokes cocaine paste—yet Meier was reacting to the successful cannabis legalization march that was held in Peru's capital on May 3! So this is sort of like calling cannabis smokers "crack-heads." The article was full of the usual distortions about how cannabis is "very addictive" and "affects mental health" (recycled from the world media's scare machine, and duly accepted unquestioningly). Legaliza Perú's press release charged that the article was "inexact and prejudicial," which is being very polite.

Mexico: battle for Tamaulipas begins?

Posted on May 14th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

MexicoMexico's government has pledged to deploy more security forces to Tamaulipas—right on the Texas border, and one of the country's most violent states. Mexican Governance Minister Miguel Angel Osorio promised a "new phase" of action against the state's warring drug cartels. The move was prompted by the May 5 assassination of Salvador Haro Muñoz, the Tamaulipas state government intelligence chief, in an ambush on his car in the state capital, Ciudad Victoria. Ten officers from the Tamaulipas state police force have been arrested by federal authorities in connection with the hit, which was said to have been carried out by the Zetas narco-paramilitary network. Also detained was José Manuel López Guijón, security chief for Tamaulipas Gov. Egidio Torre Cantú.

Michoacán: ex-vigilantes register weapons

Posted on May 14th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoMexico's government on May 10 started to swear in members of the "community police" vigilante network in Michoacán state for a new rural police force, which is supposed to bring the self-defense militias under state control. An initial 240 "community police" members gathered for the ceremony in the village of Tepacaltepec, a stronghold of the movement, where they received new blue uniforms and registered their rifles, or turned them in for state-issued AR-15s. The ceremony was overseen by the federal pointman for Michoacán, Alfredo Castillo, who waxed florid for the occassion:  "Those who 15 months ago said 'Enough' and decided to confront those who did them harm—because of them today we have the State Rural Force that carries the same conviction of justice, of courage, valour, bravery needed to protect those, who we love the most, our families," A former "community police" leader named Estanislao Beltrán AKA Papá Pitufo (Daddy Smurf), was named as leader of the new State Defense Force. But José Manuel Mireles, who had been the most visible leader of the movement, was not at the ceremony—pointing to the likelihood of some vigilantes refusing to register with the government, even at risk of arrest or confrontation with the "official" security forces.

Feds block Kentucky hemp seed shipment

Posted on May 13th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

leafThe Louisville Courier-Journal reports May 9 that a 250-pound shipment of hemp seed is being held up by US Customs and Border Protection at the city's airport—despite the fact the seeds had been ordered by Kentucky's state government for pilot projects that are allowed under the federal Farm Bill that Obama signed into law in February.  If the seed isn’t released and planted by July, some of the projects could be significantly limited or delayed entirely, said Holly VonLuehrte, spokesperson for Kentucky agriculture commissioner James Comer. She told the newspaper that the state Agriculture Department may go to court to have the seeds released in time for this year’s growing season

Hash oil explosions in the news...

dab rigOK, here comes the latest media blitz in the backlash against the recent gains for cannabis legalization... The Associated Press on May 6 runs a lurid story (one of several suddenly in the news), topped by a photo of a forelorn burn victim petting his dog for comfort, entitled "Hash Oil Explosions Rise With Legalized Marijuana." The lead: "The opening months of Colorado's first-in-the-nation recreational marijuana industry have seen a rise in fiery explosions and injuries as pot users try to make the drug's intoxicating oil in crude home-based laboratories. Since Jan. 1, when sales began, the state's only certified adult burn center has treated 10 people with serious injuries they suffered while making hash oil, compared with 11 in 2013 and one in 2012." Firefighters in Colorado have responded to at least 31 hash-oil explosions so far this year, compared with 11 all of last year, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area—a slightly questionable claim, given that the number of explosions and number of casualties for last year are identical. A police sargeant in the Denver suburb of Thornton, which saw its first such explosion in January, is quoted: "These today are the meth labs of the '90s."

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