Saudi executions for 2015 set 20-year record

Posted on January 4th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

Middle EastJust 24 hours into 2016, Saudi Arabia made world headlines with the execution of a dissident Shi'ite cleric—sparking violent protests in Iran, and a breaking off of diplomatic relations. But this just punctuated a very busy year for the Saudi execution state, with most of the victims receiving little international attention, and many sent to the chopping block for victimless crimes—prominently including drug possession.

Mexico: Zapatistas host Ayotzinapa families

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

MexicoThe Zapatista rebels in Mexico's southern state of Chiapas marked the anniversary of their 1994 New Years Day uprising by hosting a national activist gathering in their territory. Guests of honor at the proceedings in the small pueblo of Oventic were a group of parents and other family members of the 43 students who disappeared in September 2014. The students, from Ayotzinapa in Guerrero state, are said to have been abducted by corrupt local police and turned over to a murderous narco-gang—but surviving kin and their supporters increasingly charge Mexico's government with a cover-up in the case. The Zapatistas' Subcommander Moises, joined by 43 masked rebels (one for each missing student), oversaw the ceremony and each embraced the family members. Moises expressed his own skepticism of the official investigation: "The Zapatistas believe that we cannot trust the bad governments anymore, they are the servants of capital, stewards of big capitalist business," he said. "The one calling the shots is global capitalism, that is why we cannot believe them." (TeleSur, Jan. 1)

Florida cops snared in Venezuela money-laundering op

Posted on January 2nd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

VenezuelaWell, this is a little funny. The US has been eager to find any evidence that the left-wing government of Venezuela is tainted by narco-trafficking. But now it looks like a Florida police force may have been co-opted by the Venezuelan narco-networks. Federal authorities now say that for two years starting in 2010, police in Bal Harbour, Miami-Dade County, funneled millions in drug money into the bank accounts of Venezuelans—including William Amaro Sánchez, now special assistant to President Nicolás Maduro. The supposed goal was to disrupt the networks. But this supposed undercover sting operation generated millions for a local police task force and never made a single arrest.

Afghanistan: Taliban drive to re-take opium heartland

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

opiatesAs the new year opened, the Taliban pushed deeper the Sangin district of Afghanistan's Helmand province, with the Afghan army struggling to retake territory newly won by the insurgents. Kabul has sent reinforcements, but as AP reported Dec. 29, police are refusing to return to the streets even of those areas the army has supposedly secured. According to Karim Atal, director of the Helmand provincial council, security forces are for now staying inside their base in Sangin district. And this isn't just another district in Afghanistan's rugged hinterlands. Sangin is a key opium-producing district in Helmand—itself both the heartland of the Taliban insurgency and Afghan poppy cultivation. It is also straegically localted on a corridor connecting Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, to the province's northern districts. So, as the BBC News states: "Regaining full control of Sangin would increase the Taliban's mobility in the north of the province and cut a key supply line for Afghan forces with Lashkar Gah. Sangin is also a rich opium production centre—meaning potential tax revenue for the Taliban from the drugs trade."

Kosher cannabis spells relief for Judeo-tokers

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

leafPharmaceutical firm Vireo Health of Minneapolis announced Dec. 30 that its medical marijuana has been certified kosher by the Orthodox Union, the body that sets such standards for America's half-million Orthodox Jews. The OU's Kosher Certification program usually stamps its seal of approval on food products. But now Vireo Health, one of five companies licensed to market medical marijuana in New York state, has received the OU's imprimatur for herbal product—a first in the industry. The New York Daily News reports that the OU rabbinical association gave its certification after inspecting the company's facilities and finding that the cannabis is produced according to the laws of kashrut—for example, being entirely free of insects.

Syrian hashish harvest workers stranded in Lebanon

Posted on December 28th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastWe noted a year ago that ISIS was burning the cannabis fields in its areas of control in Syria (even as reports mount that the entire "Islamic State" army is hyped up on speed). In Lebanon's hashish haertland of the Bekaa Valley, meanwhile, cannabis growers have been arming to defend their turf, crops and livelihood in case ISIS invades. Now, both Reuters and National Public Radio have run reports over the past week on the plight of seasonal migrant laborers who come from Syria to the Bekaa to help harvest cannabis and produce hashish—activities just winding down now. But those who have come this year from the Syrian province of Raqqa cannot return home. Raqqa is now controlled by ISIS, its eponymous provinicial capital the de facto capital of the "Islamic State." And if word got out that these migrant laborers had worked in the hashish industry, they'd be marked for death.

Tunisia Pirate Party adopts cannabis leaf logo

Posted on December 28th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

North AfricaTunisia, the first country to rise up and throw off its long dictatorship when revolution began to sweep the Arab world in 2011, is seen as the success story of the Arab Spring. With a new secular constitution, progressive forces have prevailed peacefully over an Islamist backlash. Rappers and feminist artists have become icons of the revolution. Now, Green Rush Daily reports that the Pirate Party of Tunisia has chosen to use the marijuana leaf as its identifying logo on the country’s ballot. It cites a write-up in Pirate Times, international organ of the movement, that "the Pirate Party of Tunisia has decided to participate in the next elections by highlighting the hemp symbol on its lists, which will attract the voters of those who support this cause."

Oregon tribe embraces cannabis economy

Posted on December 24th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

OregonMembers of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, on the eastern slopes of Oregon's Cascade Mountains, voted up a proposal to permit growing, processing and selling cannabis for the recreational market, tribal officials announced Dec. 18. The referendum passed by an impressive 86%, said Don Sampson, CEO of Warm Springs Ventures, the tribes' economic development corporation. Sampson told The Oregonian that the election drew about 1,400 voters who "turned out even in a winter storm." Turnout among youth was especially strong.

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