Mexican authorities to block distribution of Spanish cannabis magazine?

Posted on August 28th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

CañamoThe Barcelona-based magazine Cáñamo is the High Times of the Spanish-speaking world, published in Spain for 18 years, and with a Chilean edition for 10 years. But when it launched its first Mexican edition in May, authorities freaked out. The inaugural issue featured a cover story entitled "Pachequeando con Tito de Molotov"—or, "Getting High with Tito of Molotov"—in which Ismael "Tito" Fuentes de Garay, guitarist with the Mexican rap-metal outflit Molotov discusses the pleasures of the herb. This came to the attention of the Quality Commission on Publications and Illustrated Magazines, an agency of Mexico's Secretariat of Governance, which issued a finding that the publication is contrary to the "morals" and "good customs" of the nation. This determination was forwarded to the Prosecutor General of the Republic (PGR) and the Secretariat of Health's Federal Commission for the Prevention of Health Risks (COFEPRIS)—with the recommendation that the magazine be officially declrared "illicit."

El Salvador: high court rules street gangs are 'terrorist groups'

Posted on August 25th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

Central AmericaThe constitutional chamber of El Salvador's Supreme Court of Justice on Aug. 24 ruled that the country's notoriously violent street gangs and those who support them financially will now be classified as "terrorist groups." The ruling came in a decision rejecting four challenges to the constitutionality of the country's Special Law Against Terrorist Acts  (LECAT). The ruling defines terrorism as the "organized and systematic exercise of violence," placing the label on any group that attempts to usurp the state's monopoly on the use of force. The ruling upholds the freezing of funds for any persons believed linked to the named groups, and a ban on any negotiation with the groups. At issue are the Mara Salvatrucha network and their deadly rivals the Barrio 18 gang.  

Venezuela closes Colombian border after clash with smugglers

Posted on August 23rd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

VenezuelaVenezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Aug. 21 indefinitely closed a busy border crossing with Colombia and declared a 60-day state of emergency in several nearby towns after three soldiers were shot and wounded in an apparent clash with smugglers. Authorities said two assailants on a motorcycle fired on a patrol in the border town of San Antonio del Táchira, wounding a civilian as well as the two army lieutenants and a captain. Maduro has mobilized some 15,000 troops the area, and says the Simon Bolívar International Bridge, over the Río Táchira that forms the border, will remain closed until the assailants are apprehended. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has protested the border closure, signaling another flare-up between the uneasy South American neighbors.

9th Circuit deals blow to Oakland medical program

Posted on August 22nd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

OaklandThe 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Aug. 20 rejected the city of Oakland's intervention in the US Justice Department's effort to shut the Harborside Health Center, finding that the legal move steps on the federal government's powers. In a unanimous three-judge ruling, the court acknowledged that Oakland had a right to sue, but said its arguments would undermine federal drug enforcement powers. The 9th Circuit was reviewing a 2013 lower court ruling tossing out Oakland's suit. The suit argued that a federal shut-down of one of four city-approved dispensaries would harm Oakland's interests and override California's 1996 medical marijuana law.

Qatari diplomat busted for hashish smuggling

Posted on August 19th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Middle EastIn a short and little-noted story Aug. 19, the Cairo Post reported that Qatari diplomat Mohammed bin Abdullah al-Hajri was arrested for hashish possession at the airport upon flying into Egypt. Qatar's Ministry of Froeign Affairs issued a formal apology. There's quite an irony here. Qatar is by far the most conservative of the Persian Gulf states. The report notes that relations between Qatar and Egypt have been "frigid" since the ouster of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. When the new regime of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took over, Egypt returned $2 billion that Qatar had given in aid. Since then, Cario has suspected Qatar of backing the Islamist opposition. And while Qatar has joined the US-led coalition agianst ISIS, it has also been accused of supporting the more "moderate" (sic) jihadists in Syria, like the Nusra Front (which the US is also bombing). And of course Qatar's jihadist friends in Syria are avidly burning the country's cannabis fields.

Israel's 'king' of medical marijuana profiled

Posted on August 17th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastIsraeli newspaper Haaretz on Aug. 15 featured an interview with the "King of Israel's Medical Marijuana Industry," Aharon Lutzky—who rose to this position by chance. The fateful moment came when his son was injured in an industrial accident in the cotton gin at Kibbutz  Gvat, the agricultural collective in Israel's north where he was then living with his family. As part of his rehabilitation process, Lutzky's son began volunteering for the company Tikun Olam—Israel's largest producer of medical marijuana. Tikun Olam eventually asked the elder Lutzky to help by giving them business advice. Lutzky so impressed the owners that they offered him the position of CEO, which he still holds today. The profile provides a fascinating look at the evolution of Israel's ground-breaking medical marijuana program.

Brazil: police implicated in Sao Paulo massacre

Posted on August 17th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

BrazilGunmen killed at least 18 people in outlying districts of Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo, in a series of overnight attacks Aug. 14. Witnesses and video footage in several locations indicated that masked gunmen pulled up in a car before opening fire. In many cases they checked the victims' names before shooting, or asked if they had criminal records. At least six other people were injured in the attacks, in the districts of Osasco and Barueri. Authorities are said to be investigating whether the attacks were a coordinated campaign of revenge by off-duty officers following the deaths of two colleagues in the targeted districts the previous week.  Police in Brazil are responsible for more than 2,000 deaths per year, and rights groups say off-duty officers rarely face prosecution when they in engage in vigilante justice. (Reuters, BBC News, Aug. 15)

Congo basin tribe uses medical cannabis: study

Posted on August 14th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

AfricaThe Slog blog makes note of a new report from anthropologists at Washington State University which appeared in the American Journal of Human Biology, entitled: "High prevalence of cannabis use among Aka foragers of the Congo Basin and its possible relationship to helminthiasis." The research found that roughly 95% of Aka men smoke tobacco (compared to 17% in Black Africa and 31% globally) and 68% smoke cannabis—both of which are correlated with lower rates of helminths, or parasitic worms. The Aka didn't tell researchers they smoke to prevent helminths, but to "increase their courage on a hunt, dance better, increase their vital force, or to increase their work capacity when working for Europeans or village people." They say cannabis is especially helpful when hunting elephants, and that women prefer husbands who smoke—which could account for the especially high rates of male smoking. But the researchers surmised that plant toxins in cannabis and tobacco alike serve to protect the Aka from parasites, and they are unconsciously self-medicating with the herb.

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