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Saudis crack down on Yemeni hash pipeline

Middle EastBorder Guard patrols along Saudi Arabia's rugged mountain frontier with Yemen report mounting interceptions of hashish, weapons and other contraband. Over the past nine months, interceptions at the Najran border post alone netted four tons of hashish, as well as explosives, hand grenades, firearms and ammunition. Some 250 smugglers and 25,000 "infiltrators" were...

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Global Ganja Report News Blog

Mexico: battle for Tamaulipas begins?

Posted on May 14th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

MexicoMexico's government has pledged to deploy more security forces to Tamaulipas—right on the Texas border, and one of the country's most violent states. Mexican Governance Minister Miguel Angel Osorio promised a "new phase" of action against the state's warring drug cartels. The move was prompted by the May 5 assassination of Salvador Haro Muñoz, the Tamaulipas state government intelligence chief, in an ambush on his car in the state capital, Ciudad Victoria. Ten officers from the Tamaulipas state police force have been arrested by federal authorities in connection with the hit, which was said to have been carried out by the Zetas narco-paramilitary network. Also detained was José Manuel López Guijón, security chief for Tamaulipas Gov. Egidio Torre Cantú.

Michoacán: ex-vigilantes register weapons

Posted on May 14th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoMexico's government on May 10 started to swear in members of the "community police" vigilante network in Michoacán state for a new rural police force, which is supposed to bring the self-defense militias under state control. An initial 240 "community police" members gathered for the ceremony in the village of Tepacaltepec, a stronghold of the movement, where they received new blue uniforms and registered their rifles, or turned them in for state-issued AR-15s. The ceremony was overseen by the federal pointman for Michoacán, Alfredo Castillo, who waxed florid for the occassion:  "Those who 15 months ago said 'Enough' and decided to confront those who did them harm—because of them today we have the State Rural Force that carries the same conviction of justice, of courage, valour, bravery needed to protect those, who we love the most, our families," A former "community police" leader named Estanislao Beltrán AKA Papá Pitufo (Daddy Smurf), was named as leader of the new State Defense Force. But José Manuel Mireles, who had been the most visible leader of the movement, was not at the ceremony—pointing to the likelihood of some vigilantes refusing to register with the government, even at risk of arrest or confrontation with the "official" security forces.

Feds block Kentucky hemp seed shipment

Posted on May 13th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

leafThe Louisville Courier-Journal reports May 9 that a 250-pound shipment of hemp seed is being held up by US Customs and Border Protection at the city's airport—despite the fact the seeds had been ordered by Kentucky's state government for pilot projects that are allowed under the federal Farm Bill that Obama signed into law in February.  If the seed isn’t released and planted by July, some of the projects could be significantly limited or delayed entirely, said Holly VonLuehrte, spokesperson for Kentucky agriculture commissioner James Comer. She told the newspaper that the state Agriculture Department may go to court to have the seeds released in time for this year’s growing season

Hash oil explosions in the news...

dab rigOK, here comes the latest media blitz in the backlash against the recent gains for cannabis legalization... The Associated Press on May 6 runs a lurid story (one of several suddenly in the news), topped by a photo of a forelorn burn victim petting his dog for comfort, entitled "Hash Oil Explosions Rise With Legalized Marijuana." The lead: "The opening months of Colorado's first-in-the-nation recreational marijuana industry have seen a rise in fiery explosions and injuries as pot users try to make the drug's intoxicating oil in crude home-based laboratories. Since Jan. 1, when sales began, the state's only certified adult burn center has treated 10 people with serious injuries they suffered while making hash oil, compared with 11 in 2013 and one in 2012." Firefighters in Colorado have responded to at least 31 hash-oil explosions so far this year, compared with 11 all of last year, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area—a slightly questionable claim, given that the number of explosions and number of casualties for last year are identical. A police sargeant in the Denver suburb of Thornton, which saw its first such explosion in January, is quoted: "These today are the meth labs of the '90s."

Mexico: more narco-mineral exports seized

Posted on May 6th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

MexicoMexican authorities on May 1 announced the seizure of a ship carrying 68,000 tons of illegal iron ore bound for China—hailed as the latest blow in a crackdown on the contraband mineral sideline by the Knights Templar drug cartel. Federal police were apparently tipped off by an anonymous phone call after the ship left Lazaro Cárdenas, the Pacific port in conflicted Michoacán state. Authorities detained the ship, the Jian Hua, off Manzanillo, the next major port up the coast, in neighboring Colima state. The ship's crew produced documents showing it had authorization to transport the iron ore. But authoriites said the paperwork listed a legal mine that was not the actual source of the contraband ore. The company operating the ship, China's Fujian Huarong Marine, has been given one month to prove to authorities that the ore was extracted legally. Mexican authorities say they have seized more than 200,000 tons of illegal iron ore so far this year, most of it headed for China

Legalize Peru!

Posted on May 4th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

After last year's victories for cannabis legalization measures in Colorado and Washington state, the US prohibition regime is under unprecedented pressure. But there is little awareness in Gringolandia of the strides in breaking with the US-led "war on drugs" in South America. Over the past decade, Argentina and Colombia have removed penalties for personal quantities of drugs, and Uruguay just passed a measure that essentially legalizes cannabis, with even cultivation permitted under state regulation. Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador have all barred the DEA from their territory.

That leaves Peru—now overtaking Colombia as the Andes' top coca producer, and also a burgeoning cannabis producer. Like Colombia, Peru remains a stronghold of the DEA in South America—even as it has moved towards decrim of personal quantities. Both countries have experienced long and bloody counterinsurgency wars related to the struggle for control over coca production. Much to Washington's displeasure, Peru even suspended eradication two years ago—before the empire struck back. But now activists are mounting pressure to break with the prohibition model—both in the remote campesino communities of the mountains and jungles, and in the streets of Lima.

Uruguay releases cannabis sales regulations

Posted on May 3rd, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

UruguayAuthorities in Uruguay on May 2 released details on how cannabis will be produced and legally sold in the country, following President José Mujica's bold legalization initiative that passed in December. With the announced regulations, Uruguay becomes the first country in the world to have a system to oversee legal cannabis production, sale and consumption. Licensed pharmacies will sell the herb for less than $1 (up to 22 pesos, or $0.95) a gram, with consumers allowed up to 40 grams (1.4 oz.) a month, or 10 grams per week. Private households may grow up to six cannabis plants. While the new regs are to officially take effect this week, it will be several months before the full system is in place. Diego Canepa, chief of Uruguay's National Drug Junta (JND), said: "Towards the end of November, early December, the sale of marijuana will already be available in the country through pharmacies." He added that the government will launch the licensing process for companies seeking to cultivate cannabis within the next 15 days. The government estimates Uruguay's current cannabis demand at between 18 and 22 tons per year, which would mean approximately 10 hectares of plantations. An Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA) has been established to maintain standards for quality. Use of the herb will be allowed in most public spaces where tobacco smoking is permitted, althought not at workplaces. Motorists caught "smoke-driving" will be subject to the same penalties as those under the influence of alcohol. To discourage "marijuana tourism," only Uruguayan citizens and residents will be allowed to purchase cannabis. (Al Jazeera, AFP, La Nacion, Argentina, RTVE.es, May 3; BBC News, TeleSur, May 2)

Rio: favela violence spills into Copacabana

Posted on April 30th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

BrazilAt least three cars, including a police vehicle, were set ablaze in the Rio de Janeiro favela of Complexo do Alemão on April 29 after the fatal shooting of an elderly woman—the latest in a series of such outbreaks as Brazilian authorities attempt to clean up Rio's slums before the World Cup games open next month. Arlinda Bezerra de Assis, 72, died after being shot in the stomach during a gun battle between police and presumed gang members. In another incident on April 23, the favela violence actually spilled into Rio's posh beachfront tourist districts—an unprecedented occurrence that doubtless struck fear deep into the hearts of the city fathers. The protests broke out in the Pavao-Pavaozinho favela, perched on the hills overlooking the famed Copacabana district. The riots were sparked after word spread that the body of Douglas Rafael da Silva Pereira, 25, a popular dancer on Brazil's Globo TV network, had been discovered in the favela—apparently killed as "collateral damage" in another one of the frequent police shoot-outs with drug gangs. Residents swept down into  Copacabana, setting fires and hurling bottles at police, vehicles and businesses. The violence also spilled over into nearby Ipanema, another posh tourist district. The young dancer's funeral two days later also exploded into a riot, as mourners blocked traffic after leaving the Sao Joao Batista cemetery, chanting  "Justice! Justice! Police murderers!" Police used tear-gas to clear the intersection. The Military Police "pacification" campaign aimed at getting the favelas under control ahead of the World Cup and  2016 Summer Olympics looks like it may be backfiring horribly. (World Bulletin, April 29; AFP, April 25; Daily Mail, VOA, April 23)

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