Bill Weinberg's blog

Trump threatens to invade Mexico: reports

Posted on February 2nd, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

MexicoAmid rapidly deteriorating relations between the US and Mexico, reports are emerging that President Donald Trump openly threatened military intervention in a phone call with his counterpart Enrique Peña Nieto. According to a partial transcript of the conversation obtained by the Associated Press, Trump told Peña Nieto: "You have a bunch of bad hombres down there. You aren't doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn't, so I just might send them down to take care of it." ("Bad hombres" is a term Trump also used in his final debate during the presidential campaign to refer to Mexican narco-gangs.)

Philippines: Duterte blinks in deadly drug war?

Posted on February 1st, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

South East AsiaThe Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte may have finally gone too far. It is all too telling that after his anti-drug crackdown has claimed perhaps 7,000 lives since he took power last June, it is the death of a prominent foreign businessman that has finally prompted him to—perhaps—rein in his murderous police. All those suspected low-level drug users and dealers who were killed? Their lives don't matter, apparently. But after rogue National Police officers abducted and put to death a South Korean shipping company executive, Duterte has finally pledged to disband the controversial anti-drug units.

Trump risking war with Mexico for useless wall?

Posted on January 27th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

MexicoThe planned meeting in Washington between President Trump and his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Peña Nieto, was called off after Trump signed his Jan. 25 executive order decreeing construction of a wall on the border—accompanied with more bluster about how Mexico will pay for it. Since the cancelation, Trump and Peña Nieto have engaged in an unseemly Twitter war, each taking responsibility for calling off the meeting. Things got worse when the White House raised the option of making Mexico pay for the wall with a 20% tariff on all goods coming in from our southern neighbor. The threat portends a trade war with the United States' third biggest trading partner.

On-the-scene report from inauguration smoke-in

Posted on January 21st, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

cannabisLighting up joints right on the National Mall in the middle of Donald Trump's inauguration speech struck me as the perfect way to usher in the new era. As High Times reported, the Inauguration Day smoke-in did indeed get away with it. But the real testament to cannabis' power to bring people together actually came a few hours earlier, when the DC Cannabis Coalition gathered in Dupont Circle, about a mile from the mall, for their mass joint give-away.

Philippines' anti-narco strongman threatens martial law

Posted on January 17th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East AsiaIn his latest outrage, the Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte now threatened to actually impose martial law across the country if the drug problem became "very virulent." Reuters on Jan. 16 quoted him as saying: "If I wanted to, and it will deteriorate into something really very virulent, I will declare martial law. No one can stop me." In a comment apparently directed at the Supreme Court and Congress, he voiced open defiance of legal norms: "My country transcends everything else, even the limitations."

Europe's 'last dictatorship' finally bans cannabis cultivation

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

EuropeFrom Russian state media outlet Sputnik comes the surprising news that Belarus has banned cannabis cultivation with a Dec. 31 decree from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. The surprise isn't that growing was banned—but that it hadn't been banned already. The former Soviet republic's best claim to fame is as "Europe's last dictatorship." Strongman Alexander Lukashenko has been in power for over 20 years now, resorting to probable fraud and definite repression to hold on to the presidency. After Lukashenko was accused of stealing the 2010 elections, there was a popular protest movement, put down wth mass arrests—with the opposition candidate himself sentenced to prison for inciting riots! No surprise that Lukashenko was "re-elected" with virtually no opposition in 2015. In last September's parliamentary elections, a few opposition candidates were for the first time allowed to take seats, leading some Belarus-watchers to hope for a "thaw." But Lukashenko is still running a very tight ship. Not exactly the kind of place you'd expect to be cannabis-friendly.

Sessions testimony on cannabis: strategic ambiguity?

Posted on January 11th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

Shadow WatchAfter the first day of Senate confirmation hearings for Jeff Sessions, president-elect Trump's choice to lead the US Justice Department, cannabis advocates are parsing his testimony for clues as to what the incoming administration's stance will be on whether to continue to give breathing room to state-level legalization and medical marijuana laws. The Los Angeles Times takes an ominous view, writing in a headline: "Sessions leaves door open to reviving federal war on pot."

'Synthetic marijuana' scare in New York

Posted on January 6th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

New York A rather sensationalistic piece in the New York Times last month luridly headlined: "Drug 85 Times as Potent as Marijuana Caused a 'Zombielike' State in Brooklyn." Apparently, emergency medical technicians called to a "mass casualty event" in Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood reported multiple people at the scene, "all of whom had a degree of altered mental status that was described by bystanders as 'zombielike,'" according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Blood and urine samples drawn from eight of the 18 men hospitalized that day revealed they had taken a synthetic cannabinoid called AMB-FUBINACA, originally developed by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, with the street names "AK-47" or "24 Karat Gold." It is said to be 85 times as potent as the main agent in natural cannabis, THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.

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