Harborside Health Center in 'historic' deal with feds

Posted on May 3rd, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

Oakland Oakland's Harborside Health Center announced May 3 that it has reached a deal to end the long effort by federal prosecutors to shut it down. Under the "historic agreement," the Justice Department will agree dismiss its forfeiture case against Harborside. In return, the dispensary agrees not to pursue further legal action against the government. Harborside's San Jose location is also included in the deal. Attorney Henry Wykowski said: "We are gratified that the government has finally seen fit to lay down its arms against Harborside in this case. The will of the people is for medical cannabis dispensaries to operate free from federal threats of closure. We hope we are on the cusp of a policy change and that the Department of Justice will no longer target state-legal dispensaries for forfeiture."

Peru's most-wanted nabbed in Colombia

Posted on May 2nd, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Colombia Gerson Adair Gálvez Calle AKA "Caracol" (The Snail), Peru's most wanted fugitive drug lord, was arrested by Colombian National Police at a shopping center in Medellín and promptly deported on May 1. National Police director Gen. Jorge Hernando Nieto called the apprehension "a powerful shot against transnational crime." Peruvian authorities had offered a reward of $150,000 for information leading to the arrest of El Caracol, who is considered Peru's biggest exporter of cocaine.

Drug war orthodoxy prevails at UN confab —despite dissent

Posted on April 22nd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

earthThe UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem closed in New York on April 21—formally adopting a document (PDF) with no actual debate in the General Assembly. The document had actually been prepared out by a select coterie of diplomats in Vienna weeks before the UNGASS even opened. There were some small improvements over the last UNGASS document in 1998, which hubristically called for a "drug-free world" within 10 years. The new document does not repeat this language, and does for the first time mention "human rights." But, as the Talking Drugs blog notes, the new document continues to use the words "use" and "abuse" as synonymous.

El Salvador deploys new military unit against gangs

Posted on April 22nd, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Central AmericaEl Salvador has deployed a new special unit to fight criminal gangs that are now said to be operating not only in the cities but in rural areas throughout the country. The 1000-strong Specialized Reaction Force is equipped with helicopters, armored cars and assault weapons. A mixed unit of 600 military troops and 400 National Police agents, it is charged with "pursuing and neutralizing" the gangs, which are said to have 70,000 members in the country. At an April 20 ceremony to unveil the new force, Vice President Oscar Ortiz said:"The moment has come to stop the scale of violence which has imposed itself in the last few years on our country and which has created so much blood and sacrifice... We are going to go after them in the countryside and in the city." He added that human rights will be respected. (BBC News, Reuters)

Medical cannabis kosher for Passover

Posted on April 20th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

kosher cannabisOn the eve of the Passover holiday, a breakthough is reported in the controversy over whether cannabis is kosher. The Times of Israel just couldn't resist the smart-alecky lede: "Getting baked on Passover is no longer just for matzah, a leading Orthodox rabbi ruled, after sniffing (but not smoking) some cannabis leaves..." Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, Israel's leading Orthodox halachic (Jewish law) authority, ruled that cannabis is kosher for Passover and can be either eaten or smoked over the eight-day festival, during which strict dietary laws apply. Kanievsky issued the ruling in response to a query from the cannabis advocacy group Siach—which means both "plant" and "conversation" in Hebrew.

Colombia to resume glyphosate spraying

Posted on April 19th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

ColombiaColombia's Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas announced this week that his forces will resume use of glyphosate to eradicate coca crops—less than a year after suspending the spray program on cancer concerns. This time, he said, the chemical will be applied manually by ground crews rather than being sprayed from the air. He asserted it will be used in a "manner that does not contaminate," as in "normal agriculture." He failed to say what prompted the resumption of chemical eradication, but emphasized that Colombia's swelling coca production would have an impact on the global cocaine supply.

Scorpion-smoking: latest Pakistani craze

Posted on April 18th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

PakistanDon't try this one at home. A grimly fascinating report in Pakistan's Dawn newspaper April 15 features an interview with an aging scorpion-venom addict in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, near the border with Afghanistan. Sohbat Khan, 74, says he has been smoking scorpions to get high off the venom since the '60s, and only recently managed to kick the habit—by switching to opium. "Drugs are beaten by other drugs," he sadly told a reporter, speaking in his native Pashto. The stuff sppears be highly addictive, and when Khan could not find scorpions in his village, he would travel to Peshawar, the regional capital, to buy them in the market. The piece does not make clear if the scorpion trade is officially tolerated by authorities.

Iran under pressure to drop death penalty for drug offenses

Posted on April 15th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Middle EastUN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on April 14 issued a statement appealing to Iran to halt executions for drug offenses until the country's parliament debates a new law that would eliminate the mandatory death penalty for drug-related crimes. The statements came in response to the hanging of five men over the weekend, three of them on charges of narcotics trafficking. In at least one of those cases, a man sentenced to death in 2012 for possession of crystal meth, there were serious concerns about the fairness of the trial and denial of the right to appeal. The statement noted lthat ast year, at least 966 people were executed in Iran—the highest rate in more than two decades. The majority were hanged for drug offenses. At least four of those executed in 2015 were juveniles.

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