DEA denies science on medical marijuana —again

Posted on May 30th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

THC Oops, he did it again. Acting Drug Enforcement Administration chief Chuck Rosenberg reiterated his oft-voiced opinion on May 25 that "marijuana is not medicine." The Washington Examiner reports that he told an audience at a clinic in Cleveland: "If it turns out that there is something in smoked marijuana that helps people, that's awesome. I will be the last person to stand in the way of that... But let's run it through the Food and Drug Administration process, and let's stick to the science on it."

France to drop prison terms for cannabis use

Posted on May 29th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

cannabisFrance will introduce a law by year's end to end prison terms for cannabis use, a spokesman for the new President Emmanuel Macron said May 26. Macron made his pledge to reform laws on cannabis use a key campaign plank during the hard-fought race. Under current law, offenders can face a year in prison plus a fine of up to 3,750 euros ($4,200).

El Salvador: Barrio 18 'Revolutionaries' sentenced in massacre

Posted on May 26th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

Central AmericaA judge in El Salvador on May 24 sentenced seven accused members of the country's feared mara gang networks to 390 years in prison each for the March 2016 massacre at the town of San Juan Opico. Authorities say the maras kidnapped three day laborers and eight electric company workers at the town, just outside the capital San Salvador—and then killed them, without waiting for a ransom. The mara networks have been factionalizing in a struggle over the cocaine trade through Central America, as well as the lucre from their new sidelines of extortion and kidnapping. The seven sentenced are said to be from a new faction with the disconcerting name of the Barrio 18 Revolutionaries—implying they actually seek to challenge  the state, in the style of Mexico's Zetas.

Homing pigeon flies ecstasy into Kuwait

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

Middle East One of those quirky stories on Fox News informs us this week that authorities in Kuwait intercepted a homing pigeon that had been outfitted with a little backpack containing 178 ecstasy pills. Kuwaiti authorities had apparently "tracked" the bird as it flew in from Iraq. A BBC News report suggests the airborne trafficker's error was to fly too close to a border post, where customs agents were already aware that smugglers were thusly exploiting our feathered friends. (BBC also says the payload was actually ketamine.)

Duterte declares martial law in south Philippines

Posted on May 24th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

South East AsiaAfter threatening to do it for months, the Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte on May 23 declared martial law on the conflicted southern island of Mindanao. The declaration takes immediate effect and will last for 60 days—officially. But in his comments upon the declaration, Duterte said it could last up to "a year"—and (not for the first time) favorably invoked the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, under whose harsh rule the Philippines saw a decade of martial law. "To those who have experienced martial law, it would not be any different from what president Marcos did," Duterte said. "I'll be harsh."

Has drug war made Mexico second most dangerous country on Earth?

Posted on May 23rd, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

MexicoProtests have been held in Mexico over the slaying of an award-winning journalist on May 15—the latest in a long line of reporters killed for daring to cover the country's ongoing nightmarish narco-violence. Javier Valdez was founder and editor of weekly newspaper Ríodoce in Culiacán, capital of Sinaloa state and principal stronghold of the notorious Sinaloa Cartel. Ríodoce staff pledged to carry on his work in spite of threats. Valdez was the sixth Mexican journalist killed so far this year.

Florida health department tries to stop herbaceous medical pot

Posted on May 18th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

FloridaFlorida is rapidly shaping up as a test case in whether the term "medical marijuana" necessarily has to include actual herbaceous cannabis. On May 15, the state's  Health Department ordered Quincy-based Trulieve dispensary to stop selling a "whole flower" product—officially intended for use in vaporizers but which can of course also be smoked. Trulieve just last week began sales of product dubbed “Entourage,”—named for the so-called "entourage effect," the synergistic workings of the various compounds in the actual cannabis flower. product meant to be used in the Volcano vaporizer, last week, reports Orlando Weekly. The Health Department's cease-and-desist letter came after local media reports about the sales of Entourage.

Brazil, Bolivia launch joint anti-narco operation

Posted on May 15th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .
BoliviaBolivia and Brazil agreed to a joint plan to fight criminal gangs that operate on their shared jungle border, long pourous for drug and arms traffickers. The decision was taken at a Brasilia meeting between Brazil's Justice Minister Osmar Serraglio and Bolivia's Government Minister Carlos Romero on May 13. The plan includes establishment of new border checkpoints in the Bolivian outposts of Bella Vista and Puerto Evo and the Brazilian villages of Costa Marques and Plácido de Castro. It establishes mechanisms for sharing intelligence, and operations to secure control of air-space over the border zone. It also calls for joint military training between the two countries.

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