Bill Weinberg's blog

Cannabis legal in North Korea? Don't believe the hype

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

DPRKHere we go again. The Weed Blog was last week the latest to repeat the urban legend that cannabis is legal in North Korea. Earlier this year, the same click-bait nonsense was heard on a YouTube video produced by The mis-informed line goes like this (in the Weed Blog's gushy prose): "North Korea doesn’t consider marijuana a drug at all, and is completely legal in the country. [Sic] That's right. I can repeat that: marijuana is completely legal in the country of North Korea." You can repeat it all you want, but that doesn't make it true. It's an absurd irony that probably the most cannabis-unfriendly country on Earth has won a rep as a free zone where the stuff is legal. How did this all get started?

UK drug bill to ban church incense?

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

EuropeThe British tabloids are having a field day with this one. The Daily Mail warns that the UK's pending Psychoactive Substances Bill—aimed at closing the loopholes that permit "legal highs"—could outlaw incense and criminalize priests. Under the proposed law, it would become a criminal offense to sell "any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect," with a seven-year prison term. Two church groups, the Association of English Cathedrals and the Churches' Legislation Advisory Service, are urging lawmakers to make a "specific exemption" for incense. In testimony to a parliamentary inquiry, the Association warned: 'Cathedrals regularly make use of incense during worship services, especially celebrations of the Eucharist. Incense has been used for worship purposes for millennia, and by the Christian church since its foundation."

Mendocino deputies raid tribal grow op

Posted on September 24th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

CaliforniaIn a move that raises questions over the rights and limits of tribal sovereignty, Mendocino County sheriff's deputies on Sept. 22 raided a medical marijuana grow operation on Indian land just outside Ukiah—targeting a project hailed as a new economic model for cash-strapped tribes. Some 400 outdoor plants were eradicated on lands of the Pinoleville Pomo Nation. Deputies also seized more than 100 pounds of trimmed and drying bud at a Ukiah laboratory run by the tribe where cannabis-infused honey oil was being produced.

China moves to restrict death penalty —but not for drugs

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

ChinaUnited Nations human rights experts on Sept. 11 welcomed a recommendation to abolish the death penalty by India, as well as a decision to reduce the number of crimes subject to the death penalty in the world's top executioner by far: China.  The better news was that concerning India—which has thousands on death row, but has only carried out four executions so far this century (AP, July 29).

Narco-Imperialism Deconstructed

Posted on September 6th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

PaleyDawn Paley is one courageous journalist. Her travels through Mexico, Colombia and Central America have brought her to the frontlines of "drug war" danger and militarization, producing first-hand reportage from communities terrorized by narco-gangs, paramilitaries and "official" security forces alike. In Drug War Capitalism (AK Press, Oakland, 2015) Paley portrays these forces as constituting a single nexus of terror, thoroughly integrated into the structures of the "legal"economy.

Peru: protests as US military forces arrive

Posted on September 2nd, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

PeruWithout fanfare in either country, some 3,000 US troops are now arriving in Peru for an anti-drug "training mission." The troops embarked, along with several cargo planes, on the USS George Washington Sept. 1—sparking street protests in Lima. Thousands filled downtown Lima chanting slogans against the "Yankee terrorists," and several US flags were burned. Ex-congressman Gustavo Espinoza decried what he called a "military invasion."  He suggested that the US had ulterior motives behind the mobilization: "What is looming is a sort of 'sting operation'...designed to enhance the North American presence not only in Peru but in the Americas... The Empire seeks to change the correlation of forces now in place in the region." (HispanTV, Sept. 2; TeleSUR, Sept. 1)

Qatari diplomat busted for hashish smuggling

Posted on August 19th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Middle EastIn a short and little-noted story Aug. 19, the Cairo Post reported that Qatari diplomat Mohammed bin Abdullah al-Hajri was arrested for hashish possession at the airport upon flying into Egypt. Qatar's Ministry of Froeign Affairs issued a formal apology. There's quite an irony here. Qatar is by far the most conservative of the Persian Gulf states. The report notes that relations between Qatar and Egypt have been "frigid" since the ouster of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. When the new regime of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took over, Egypt returned $2 billion that Qatar had given in aid. Since then, Cario has suspected Qatar of backing the Islamist opposition. And while Qatar has joined the US-led coalition agianst ISIS, it has also been accused of supporting the more "moderate" (sic) jihadists in Syria, like the Nusra Front (which the US is also bombing). And of course Qatar's jihadist friends in Syria are avidly burning the country's cannabis fields.

Israel's 'king' of medical marijuana profiled

Posted on August 17th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastIsraeli newspaper Haaretz on Aug. 15 featured an interview with the "King of Israel's Medical Marijuana Industry," Aharon Lutzky—who rose to this position by chance. The fateful moment came when his son was injured in an industrial accident in the cotton gin at Kibbutz  Gvat, the agricultural collective in Israel's north where he was then living with his family. As part of his rehabilitation process, Lutzky's son began volunteering for the company Tikun Olam—Israel's largest producer of medical marijuana. Tikun Olam eventually asked the elder Lutzky to help by giving them business advice. Lutzky so impressed the owners that they offered him the position of CEO, which he still holds today. The profile provides a fascinating look at the evolution of Israel's ground-breaking medical marijuana program.

Who's new

  • Baba Israel
  • Karr Young
  • John Veit
  • YosephLeib
  • Peter Gorman