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Nazis scapegoat Jews for legal pot —of course

Posted on January 11th, 2018 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

Reefer MadnessEven back in the bad old days of Reefer Madness in the 1930s, when marijuana's association with Mexican immigrants and African American musicians was used as propaganda for the first federal laws banning the weed, it never came to this. But the canard that cannabis is a tool in a sinister Jewish conspiracy to subvert wholesome white American youth has now entered (almost) mainstream discourse.

The Philippine contradiction: martial law and medical marijuana

Posted on January 9th, 2018 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

South East AsiaThe Unites States is facing a pretty surreal contradiction, with blustering Trump and his cannabis-phobic Attorney General Jeff Sessions holding the federal reins, as legalization takes effect in California. The Philippines is looking at a similar paradox. Ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte is again sending the National Police back into drug enforcement, after he was pressured to withdraw them by a public outcry over their slaying of thousands of innocent civilians since he took office in June 2016. And on New Year's Eve, he won a grim victory as the Philippine Congress voted to extend his declaration of martial law in the conflicted southern island of Mindanao through the end of 2018.

Hashish traffic at issue in Morocco-Algeria tensions

Posted on December 16th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

MoroccoIn the cold war between North African neighbors Morocco and Algeria, the latter has long used the status of the former as the world's top cannabis producer for propaganda, painting the conservative kingdom as a drug menace to the greater region. Now the narco-baiting has exploded into a diplomatic flare-up. Morocco World News reports that the kingdom's national airline, Royal Air Maroc, is preparing legal action against Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel after he publicly insinuated that it is smuggling hashish.

Bolivia's African king speaks for coca growers

Posted on December 11th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .
BoliviaAmong the coca-growing peasants of Bolivia's Yungas region (the country's prime legal cultivation zone) is a substantial Afro-Bolivian population—descendants of slaves who were brought in by the Spanish colonialists to work in the silver mines and haciendas centuries ago. Some have inter-married with the indigenous Aymara people of the Yungas, forming a distinctive Afro-Aymara culture.

Shape of Canada's new cannabis order hangs in balance

Posted on December 10th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

CanadaPretty ironic timing. Just as Canada is moving toward legal cannabis, dispensaries are coming under more legal pressure and being forced to shut down—most recently in Toronto. On Dec. 7, the city's Cannabis Culture outlet—which had been targeted in a police raid back in March—finally shut its doors, and seemingly this time for good. The Ottawa Citizen reports that police arrived at the popular Cannabis Culture dispensary on Bank Street with a bailiff, who changed the locks and posted a notice on the door saying the lease was being terminated.

Duterte fudges police death toll to justify drug war

Posted on December 9th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East AsiaThe Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte—trying to justify sending the National Police back into drug enforcement after he was pressured to withdraw them by a public outcry over their slaying of innocent civilians—seems to have just been caught in a lie. He stated Dec. 7 that 242 police officers have been killed in anti-drug operations since he took office on June 30, 2016—this by way of providing a rationale for the police killing thousands of Filipinos in this same period. He said, in his typically crude syntax: "[W]hy is it, if it is not that dangerous and violent, why is it that to date, I have lost 242 policemen in drug-related raids and arrest?"

Afghanistan opium production hits new record —again

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

opiatesThe latest stats from the UN's annual Afghanistan Opium Survey are in, and the news is grim. Opium production in the war-torn country jumped nearly 87% in 2017, to record levels—an estimated 9,000 metric tons (9,921 US tons). Areas under poppy cultivation rose by 63%, reaching a record 328,000 hectares (810,488 acres), according to the joint survey by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Afghan Counter-Narcotics Ministry. The survey also found that the number of poppy-free provinces in the country decreased from 13 to 10, with Ghazni, Samangan and Nuristan provinces joining the list of poppy-growing regions. This boosts the number of Afghanistan's 34 provinces now cultivating opium from 21 to 24. 

Darfur: cannabis cover for counterinsurgency?

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

AfricaSudan's conflicted western region of Darfur has receded from the headlines since the wave of global concern about genocide there a decade ago. But horrific violence in the stark desert region continues—and there are signs that Sudan's regime is resorting to the tried-and-true tactic of using drug enforcement as a rationale for counterinsurgency. AFP reports that Sudan's paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), usually used to fight rebels in the country's conflict areas, are now boasting a massive hashish haul of 19 metric tons in the state of South Darfur.

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