Global Ganja Report News Blog

Colombia: peace process in jeopardy?

Posted on May 10th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

ColombiaColombia's President Juan Manuel Santos on May 9 called upon his National Drug Council to halt the spraying of glyphosate on suspected coca fields following its recent reclassification as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization. The decision to put an end to 20 years of the US-backed aerial spraying was applauded by leaders of the FARC guerillas. The spraying has long been opposed by the FARC as well as by Colombia's peasant communities. Santos' announcement came one week after government representatives and FARC leaders met in Havana for the 35th round of ongoing peace talks—this time to focus on justice and restitution for victims of Colombia's long civil war. (Colombia Reports, May 10; Prensa Latina, May 3)

Mexico: Chiapas peasants march against narco-violence

Posted on May 5th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

MexicoMaya indigenous peasants in Mexico's southern state of Chiapas are marching cross-country to oppose violence by the local narco gangs and the corruption of local authorities that protect them. The "pilgrimage" left the rural town of  Simojovel some 15,000 strong at the end of March, and is now arriving at the state capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez, some 240 kilometers away through rugged country. The pilgrimage was organized by the Catholic pacifist group Pueblo Creyente (Faithful People) with the support of the local diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas in response to a wave of narco-violence  in Simojovel.  

Puerto Rico governor issues medical marijuana decree

Posted on May 5th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

medical marijuanaPuerto Rico's Gov. Alejandro García Padilla on May 3 signed an executive order calling a halt to prosecutions for medical use of marijuana on the island territory. Effective immediately, the order authorizes the Commonwealth's Health Secretary Ana Rius to permit medical use of "some or all controlled substances or components of the cannabis plant." The decree also calls on Rius to produce a report within three month "detailing the efforts made in compliance with this order, and the results obtained and the work plan to follow." Cannabis will be subject to taxation under the new plan, which is seen by most media accounts (e.g. PanAm Post) as a strategy to address the Commonwealth's urgent fiscal crisis.

Will Loretta Lynch wind down drug war?

Posted on April 26th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Loretta LynchPresident Obama's nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch, was confirmed by the Senate after a long delay due to Capitol Hill party politicking on April 23. She becomes the first Black woman to head the US Justice Department, and she brings some credentials to the job that will hearten those concerned with social justice. As US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, she prosecuted the NYPD officers who sodomized Abner Louima in a New York police station bathroom with a broken broom handle in 1997. But at her confirmation hearing she appeared to tilt right, telling senators on Jan. 29: "[N]ot only do I not support the legalization of marijuana, it is not the position of the Department of Justice currently to support the legalization. Nor would it be the position should I become confirmed as attorney general." CelebStoner blog ominously notes that she has won support from such intolerant hardliners as New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who called her "a remarkable prosecutor with a clear sense of justice without fear or favor."

DEA chief Michele Leonhart steps down under cloud of scandal

Posted on April 21st, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

DEAUS Drug Enforcement Administration director Michele Leonhart is to step down next month, Attorney General Eric Holder announced April 21. Holder issued requisite praise of Leonhart, stating that she "led this distinguished agency with honor." But the circumstances of her departure are far from honorable. While Holder certainly wasn't so indiscrete as to mention it, Leonhart's resignation follows an internal Justice Department report last month finding that DEA agents attended parties with prostitutes paid for by local drug traffickers in Colombia. Media reports indicate that Leonhart, who has headed the DEA since 2007, has been under mounting pressure to resign since testifying to a congressional oversight committee about the scandal last week. (CBSBBC News)

Judge upholds Schedule I classification of cannabis

Posted on April 16th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

THCUS District Judge Kimberly Mueller in Sacramento—who made history by granting the first extended hearings in federal court on the question of cannabis' continued listing under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act—on April 15 closed the hearings by ruling that the plant's Schedule I status is constitutional. "At some point in time," said Judge Mueller in issuing her decision in US v. Schweder et al, "a court may decide this status to be unconstitutional. But this is not the court and not the time." The Obama appointee decided to rule on the merits of the case, disregarding the insistence of federal prosecutors that she dismiss the motion for lack of standing by the defendants. For her standard of review, she applied the "rational basis test" to the defendants' challenge to cannabis' Schedule I status under the Equal Protection Clause. Under that standard, said Judge Mueller, "the statute passes muster. The questions raised by the defense are for Congress to resolve." Defendants say they will appeal to the Ninth Circuit. (The Leaf Online, Courthouse News Service, April 15)

Chicago to pay in police torture scandal

Posted on April 15th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

The city of Chicago on April 14 proposed a $5.5 million reparations fund for dozens of torture victims connected to former police Commander Jon Burge and his so-called "midnight crew of rogue detectives," the Chicago Tribune reports. The proposal, negotiated with a plaintiff's attorney and supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, would offer free city college tuition for victims and their families, free psychological counseling, and other such assistance to more than 50 potential victims. The city would also issue a formal apology, create a permanent memorial recognizing the victims and ensure that the new generation of students in Chicago public schools is taught about the Burge case. Other inmates who assert their confessions were extracted through torture continue to fight to overturn convictions and win their freedom. The scandal has already cost tax-payers some $100 million in lawsuit settlements, judgments and other legal costs.

Spain: holograms protest anti-protest law

Posted on April 14th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

SpainActivists in Spain staged a creative protest against the country's new "Citizen Safety Law" on April 10—projecting holograms of themselves that marched on the parliament building in Madrid. This was making the point that under the law, actual flesh-and-blood marches on government buildings would be banned—along with filming the police, failing to obey police orders, burning the national flag, or holding any protest without a permit. The ghostly hologram march was a joint effort by the groups No Somos Delito (We Are Not a Crime, the coalition that's come together to oppose the new "gag law") and the tech-savvy Hologramas por la Libertad (Holograms for Freedom). People worldwide were invited to record videos of themselves marching and holding signs, that were converted into holograms. The stunt was avidly covered both by lefty activist websites like Revolution News and techie-geek sites like Engadget. "Our protest with holograms is ironic," organizer Carlos Escano told the Spanish press, according to CNN. "With the restrictions we're suffering on our freedoms of association and peaceful assembly, the last option that will be left to us in the end will be to protest through our holograms." 

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