Bill Weinberg's blog

Philippines prez urges citizens to kill 'drug addicts'

Posted on July 5th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East AsiaRodrigo Duterte was sworn in as president of the Philippines on June 30, and wasted no time in launching a foul-mouthed tirade threatening to unleash a reign of terror against drug users. After a staid inaugural speech at the presidential palace, he made a visit to a poor district of Manila where he expounded on his real agenda—and even called upon citizens to take the law into their own hands and kill "drug addicts." AFP news service noted this line from his profanity-laden harange before a crowd of some 500: "These sons of whores are destroying our children. I warn you, don't go into that, even if you're a policeman, because I will really kill you. If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful."

Paraguay: drug czar steps down after deadly anti-cannabis op

Posted on June 23rd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Southern Cone Paraguay's top anti-drug official stepped down June 20, two days after a botched anti-cannabis operation left a three-year-old girl dead at the hands of his troops. Luis Rojas resigned as head of the National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD), under apparent pressure from President Horacio Cartes. The deadly operation took place in Nueva Italia municipality of Central department, where SENAD troops searching for cannabis plantations apparently fired on a van—which proved to be carrying members of the Zanotti Cavazzoni family, owners of a local sugar plantation and mill. The girl's uncle was also wounded in the attack. The girl was the grand-daughter of Ulrico Zanotti Cavazzoni, local sugar oligarch and land-owner. One wonders if Rojas would have been forced to resign if it had just been a peasant's daughter who was killed.

Youth cannabis use drops in Colorado —surprise!

Posted on June 22nd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Colorado"Colorado teens stubbornly refuse to smoke more weed." That's the smart-alecky headline over a chart of youth cannabis use rates that appeared in the Washington Post June 21. The story cites Colorado Health Department findings that rates of use among the state's teenagers are essentially unchanged in the years since the herb was legalized there in 2012. In last year's figures, 21% of Colorado youths had used cannabis in the past 30 days. That is slightly lower than the national average, and down from 25% in 2009. The findings are based on a random survey of 17,000 middle and high school students. "The survey shows marijuana use has not increased since legalization, with four of five high school students continuing to say they don’t use marijuana, even occasionally," the health department stated.

DEA to re-schedule cannabis this summer: reports

Posted on June 20th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

THCThe Internet is atwitter over a June 19 report in the Santa Monica Observer with the headline: "US Gov't Will Legalize Marijuana on August 1." The article claims that "weed will soon be legal in all 50 states, with a prescription," thanks to the imminent government action, with cannabis about to be switched from Schedule I to Schedule II. An unnamed DEA attorney is quoted as saying: "Whatever the law may be in California, Arizona or Utah or any other State, because of Federal preemption this will have the effect of making THC products legal with a prescription, in all 50 states." The story also cites a June 17 article in the Denver Post asserting (with no attribution) that the DEA will issue a decision in the matter by July 1.

This year's other gay bar massacre —in Mexico

Posted on June 16th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

MexicoFollowing the weekend's horrific massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Latin American media are noting a similar deadly attack earlier this year that failed to make world headlines—in Xalapa, capital of Mexico's Gulf Coast state of Veracruz. That happened on May 21, when a group of heavily armed men opened fire on patrons at the city's La Madame gay bar, killing seven and wounding 12. As in the far bloodier Orlando attack, an AR-15 rifle was used. Some of the gunmen were also armed with AK-47s. The Veracruz Public Security Secretariat said this was just another massacre in the wars between rival drug cartels that have been convulsing Mexico for a decade now. But, as the Yucatan Times points out, the fact that the shooters seemed to fire randomly into the crowded bar may point to another motive.

Voter suppression under investigation in Emerald Triangle

Posted on June 10th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

CaliforniaThe California Attorney General's Office sent a team to the Emerald Triangle's Siskiyou County in the prelude to the June 7 primary election, following reports of armed men from the sheriff's department intimidating members of the county's Hmong community—including menacing some at gunpoint. Sheriff Jon Lopey said the deputies were mobilized as part of an investigation into voter fraud, and had to be armed because of rifle-toting cannabis growers in the areas. But the investigation seems to have exclusively targeted Hmong residents—some of whom were falsely informed that it is illegal for them to vote. Janelle Vang, a representatve for the county's Hmong community, told the Redding Record-Searchlight many residents did not turn out at the polls because they feared they would be arrested. There was speculation that Lopey sought to suppress turn-out for a measure on banning outdoor cannabis cultivation. The county council approved the ban last year, but opponents forced a ballot measure on the question and were mobilizing for a "no" vote. The ban was indeed approved, although Lopey denies his action affected the outcome—as well as denying any wrong-doing.

NYC: cannabis busts rising again —despite new policy

Posted on June 4th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

New York CityBig Apple tokers exhaled a sigh of relief in November 2014, when Mayor Bill de Blasio instated a new policy barring arrest for possession of under 25 grams of cannabis. New York City had long been the pot bust capital of the USA, and after the new policy the smell of fragrant smoke was present on the city streets on a level not seen since before the get-tough Giuliani era. But a year and a half later—guess what? A new report just released by the Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP) indicates that cannabis arrests rose more than a third in the first three months of this year. The NYPD popped 4,225 people for pot possession between January and March, according to state data crunched by the advocacy group. That's a serious jump from the 2,960 arrested during the same period last year. When you add in arrests for small sales, the figures are respectively 5,311 and 3,973. What gives?

Canada's Countdown to Cannabis Legalization

 Canada

After nine years of Conservative rule, Canada's Liberal Party had a momentous election night on Oct. 19, gaining a majority of seats in Parliament and a new prime minister in Justin Trudeau. The handsome and charismatic son of Canada's most formative prime minister, Trudeau had worked as a school teacher in Vancouver before becoming a parliamentarian representing Quebec. He promised a new beginning in Canadian politics—and a break with the increasingly right-wing policies of his predecessor, Stephen Harper. It remains to be seen if he will able to follow through on his ambitious promises—including to legalize cannabis.

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