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Bill Weinberg's blog

Sessions reverses Obama-era restriction on asset forfeiture

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

Shadow WatchAttorney General Jeff Sessions signed an order July 19 reversing limits on the federal civil asset forfeiture program that were instated under the Obama administration in 2015. The widely criticized civil forfeiture program allows law enforcement to seize cash and property from citizens who have not been charged with any crime. But under the Obama-era change, the feds respected the right of states to rein in the practice. With Sessions' change, that is now undone.

Catalonia legalizes cannabis —in new challenge to Madrid

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

SpainSpain's restive northeastern region of Catalonia and especially its freewheeling capital Barcelona have over the past years come to rival the Netherlands and and Amsterdam as a European cannabis hub. Smokers' clubs have proliferated, tolerated (and regulated) by the authroities. Now the regional government, the Generalitat de Catalunya, has passed a measure formally legalizing the clubs.

Hindu god banishes cannabis tourism from Indian village

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

South AsiaA local Hindu deity has issued an edict ordering that guest-houses that cater to cannabis-imbibing tourists in a remote Indian village be shut down. That's the gist of the startling headline in Hindustan Times of July 11. Malana village, high in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, is famous for its premium-quality hashish, but has traditionally been isolated from the outside world. Now village elders fear the community's unique culture is threatened by the swarms of tourists drawn by Malana's storied bhang.

Cuban commies castigate cannabis legalization

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

CaribbeanCuba is opening up its economy to private busineses and foreign investors, hoping for an end to the US embargo, and attracting record numbers of internaitonal tourists. But the new open atmosphere is definitely not extending to cannabis. In announcing a big increase in interceptions of illegal drugs this year, the nation's drug czar just took an open swipe at other Latin American countries that are embracing legalization, decriminalization or medical marijuana.

Philippine strongman's bloody drug war: year one

Posted on June 26th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East AsiaJune 30 marks one year since the ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte took office in the Philippines, on a pledge to halt the "virulent social disease" of drug abuse. Officials boast that crime has dropped, thousands have been arrested on drug offenses, and a million users have turned themselves in for treatment programs instead of jail. The usual totalitarian rhetoric is employed to justify the price in human lives for this supposed progress—the bloodletting is necessary for the health of the nation. "There are thousands of people who are being killed, yes," Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde told Reuters for a one-year assesment of Duterte's crackdown. "But there are millions who live, see?"

Hong Kong cannabis interceptions soaring

Posted on June 22nd, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Hong KongCannabis seizures are rapidly escalating in Hong Kong—whether due to greater quantities on the market or stepped-up enforcement, or both. The city's South China Morning Post reports June 19 on a haul of 35 kilos in 136 baggies ready for sale, uncovered in a vehicle during a police raid on a car park. Three were arrested. Police estimated the street value of the load at HK$10 million (about US$1.3 million). As recently as May 27, the SCMP reported a police raid on an industrial building in the city's Tai Po district that netted 110 kilos, worth HK$19 million. (Obviously, the math is not adding up here, raising questions about how the Hong Kong cops arrive at their estimates.)

Cannabis at issue in Philando Castile case —yet again

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

BlackLivesMatterProtests broke out in Minnesota's Twin Cities the night of June 16, after the acquittal of a police officer in the notorious slaying of Black motorist Philando Castile—a St. Paul school cafeteria worker who was 32 at the time of his death. As I write, the first arrests are taking place, as thousands of demonstrators attempt to shut down Interstate 94. Black Lives Matter protesters are again mobilizing in cities across the country.

Does North Korea have a more tolerant cannabis policy than South?

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

KoreaWell, absolutely not, but you could be forgiven for thinking so, based on a cursory review of recent headlines.

Although it hasn't made much of a splash stateside, the big news in the South this week is the "marijuana scandal" surrounding a singer from the suggestively named K-pop boy-band Big Bang, who goes by the stage-name T.O.P.

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