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Gotham ganjapreneurs schmooze at CannaGather confab

New York cannabisThe networking group CannaGather held its fifth confab at lower Manhattan's Galvanize venue Sept. 28, bringing together some 200 entrepreneurs, investors, press and activists from throughout the New York metropolitan area. Inspired by the New York tech industry meet-ups of the dot-com boom in the late '90s, CannaGather hopes to similarly connect people in a burgeoning industry and help spur its growth.

Philippines: Duterte threatens to kill his own son

Posted on September 20th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

South East AsiaIt is beginning to smack a little of desperation—or at least we hope it is. Philippine President Rodirgo Duterte—whose "war on drugs" has now reached the point of mass murder—was recently put on the hot spot when his own son was called to testify before a Senate hearing on drug corruption. Paolo Duterte is a vice-mayor of the same southern port city, Davao, where his dad had long served as mayor. The younger Duterte is accused of being part of a ring of corrupt officials that allowed methamphetamine shipments through the city's port. President Duterte has repeatedly boasted of his enthusiasm for killing drug suspects. Would his standards of rough justice apply to his own kith and kin?

Cannabis legalization coming to Kyrgyzstan?

Posted on September 19th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

KyrgyzstanThe post-Soviet republics of Central Asia have emerged as a key smuggling route for hashish making its way from Afghanistan to European markets—as well as developing their own local hashish (and opium) production. As ever, the illegal economy is breeding destructive gunplay throughout the region. But in these authoritarian nations, proosals for legalization have been marginalized—until now.

Emerald Triangle: Hmong pot growers lose in court

Posted on September 15th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

CaliforniaA federal judge in Sacramento on Sept. 12 ruled that sheriff's deputies and other officials in Northern California's Siskiyou County did not discriminate against Hmong residents while carrying out marijuana enforcement operations and other investigations last year.

Khat thrives in independent Somaliland

Posted on September 14th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

SomalilandHere's a telling irony. We think of Somalia as a country that has basically had no functioning government for over a generation, and is beset by insurgents linked to al-Qaeda. Certainly, how a government treats a relatively harmless psychoactive herb is a good barometer of its general commitment to freedom. The herb in question here is khat, the mildly stimulating leaf that is chewed socially throughout the Horn of Africa. And we've noted how even the weak "official" government in Somalia has been cracking down on khat in a bid to appease the Shabaab insurgents.

Yemen hashish pipeline thrives amid war

Posted on September 12th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

Middle East Despite Saudi Arabia's penchant for beheading hashish smugglers, the stuff just keeps coming in. The latest big haul was reported in early September, when a Border Guard naval patrol seized 258 kilograms of hash at Jeddah, the country's principal Red Sea port. A vessel with three Yemeni nationals on board was also seized in the maritime operation—in what is now a familiar story. The flow of hashish entering from Saudi Arabia's war-torn southern neighbor has been increasing as the conflict in Yemen has escalated—whether it is coming up the Red Sea coast or over the rugged land border of harsh desert and mountains.

Is anti-drug strongman of the Philippines in bed with narco gangs?

Posted on September 5th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

South East AsiaIs it really possible that Philippine President Rodirgo Duterte—who has unleashed a "war on drugs" that has now reached the point of mass murder, and used charges of narco-corruption to lock up his political opponents—is himself mixed up in the drug trade? With the Philippine Senate now launching multiple investigations into the drug-related violence, charges of involvement in the narco trade have actually reached some of Duterte's closest family members.

Trump overturns ban on military gear for police

Posted on September 4th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

BlackLivesMatterPresident Donald Trump signed an executive order on Aug. 28 overturning Barack Obama's 2015 directive that barred local police agencies from receiving most forms of military equipment from the federal government. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the order  in a speech to the Fraternal Order of Police, which led the campaign to reverse the Obama policy.

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