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New Zealand moves toward roadside tests for meth —and cannabis

Posted on January 23rd, 2018 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Shadow WatchA big push is on in New Zealand for a bill that would give police the power to conduct roadside saliva tests for methamphetamine, ecstasy (MDMA)—and cannabis. And the public face of the campaign to pass the legislation is Malcolm Barnett, who in 2005 lost his 18-year-old step-daughter to a road crash with a driver who was wasted on meth, or "P," as they call it in New Zealand.

UK khat ban fails to stop contraband imports —surprise!

Posted on January 19th, 2018 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

khatHere's some news that should surprise nobody. International efforts to suppress the trade in a psychoactive plant are failing to do so, but are jacking up the social costs of its use—which might be quite negligible if the stuff weren't illegal. In this case we're talking about khat, the mildly stimulating leaf that is chewed socially in the Horn of Africa and its immigrant diaspora. It was sold openly at groceries and eateries in London's African communities until Britain finally banned the stuff in of 2014, following the example of the United States (of course). At that time, it became a Class C substance under the UK Misuse of Drugs Act. By way of comparison, cannabis is in the more restrictive Class B—although between 2004 and 2008 pot was placed in Class C, and there is an initiative to have it removed from the classification system altogether.

California's conservative secessionists want to take Emerald Triangle with them

CaliforniaSo California's rebel rednecks think they're taking Humboldt County with them when they leave the state, it appears. The latest split-the-state initiative was unveiled at a Sacramento press conference Jan. 16, covered by USA Today. "The current state of California has become governed by a tyranny," the group declared. Their proposed solution is to form the state of "New California," taking most of the rural counties with them, and leaving behind the heavily urbanized coast.

Will cannabis save Canadian agriculture?

Posted on January 12th, 2018 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

CanadaMany things are falling into place as Canada advances toward legal cannabis, expected to take effect this summer. Provinces are to come up with their own policies on regulation, and these are now congealing. The government of Nova Scotia has agreed on a plan to market retail cannabis at liquor stores through the provincial public company that now maintains a monopoly on alcohol sales, the Canadian Broadcasting Company reports. At the other end of the continent, British Columbia is also said to be considering such a plan.

Nazis scapegoat Jews for legal pot —of course

Posted on January 11th, 2018 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

Reefer MadnessEven back in the bad old days of Reefer Madness in the 1930s, when marijuana's association with Mexican immigrants and African American musicians was used as propaganda for the first federal laws banning the weed, it never came to this. But the canard that cannabis is a tool in a sinister Jewish conspiracy to subvert wholesome white American youth has now entered (almost) mainstream discourse.

Iran relents in draconian drug war —after international protest

Posted on January 11th, 2018 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

Middle EastSome rare good news is reported from Iran, where a reform of the country's drug laws may save the lives of thousands now on death row. Some 5,000 people are currently awaiting execution for drug offenses in the Islamic Republic, and all of them could now have their sentences reviewed, according to the New York Times.

Global Commission on Drug Policy strikes blow on semantic front

Posted on January 10th, 2018 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

cocaineA welcome blow is reported against the deeply ingrained stigma that attaches even to users of basically harmless drugs like cannabis that happen to be illegal. The Global Commission on Drug Policy—a body with dissident views but made up of prestigious elder statesmen and world leaders, so it can't be readily ignored—has just issued a statement calling on policymakers and the media to avoid using terms such as "drug user," "addict" and "junkie." The report includes a checklist of what terms should be eschewed or embraced to avoid language portraying people who use drugs as "physically inferior or morally flawed."

The Philippine contradiction: martial law and medical marijuana

Posted on January 9th, 2018 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

South East AsiaThe Unites States is facing a pretty surreal contradiction, with blustering Trump and his cannabis-phobic Attorney General Jeff Sessions holding the federal reins, as legalization takes effect in California. The Philippines is looking at a similar paradox. Ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte is again sending the National Police back into drug enforcement, after he was pressured to withdraw them by a public outcry over their slaying of thousands of innocent civilians since he took office in June 2016. And on New Year's Eve, he won a grim victory as the Philippine Congress voted to extend his declaration of martial law in the conflicted southern island of Mindanao through the end of 2018.

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