Cannabis stigma exploited in Ferguson case —of course

Posted on October 23rd, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

MissouriOK, remember how George Zimmerman's legal team in the Trayvon Martin case attempted to introduce as evidence that the youth's autopsy had shown trace amounts of THC in his bloodstream—a blatant play at exploiting the irrational cannabis stigma? Well... here we go again. This time it concerns Michael Brown, the 18-year-old African American shot by police on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo., sparking a local intifada. A copy of Brown's autopsy was leaked to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, which offers the following headline: "Official autopsy shows Michael Brown had close-range wound to his hand, marijuana in system." Other papers that have picked up the story have also headlined the absolutely irrelevant cannabis claim—for instance, New York's Daily News, which opted for "Michael Brown autopsy, officer's account indicate teen went for Ferguson cop's gun, had marijuana in his system: report." 

Northern California grow ops named as threat to salmon

Posted on October 21st, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

CaliforniaA Sept. 30 Associated Press story that got wide play in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest marked another concern about the ecological impacts of outdoor cannabis grows in the Emerald Traingle. The NOAA Fisheries Service in its new coho salmon recovery plan for the Northern California and Southern Oregon region finds that water use by the marijuana industry further threatens salmon already in danger of extinction. The plan calls for determining and decreasing the amount of water that growers illegally withdraw from creeks where young fish struggle to survive. Other threats from the unregulated industry include clear-cutting to make way for grows, punching roads that send sediment into streams, and use of fertilizer and pesticides that poison waters. Coho salmon have been listed as a threatened species since 1997, due to loss of habitat from logging, agriculture, urban development and dams, as well as overfishing—issues also addressed in the recovery plan. The highlighting of cannabis stems from a California Department of Fish and Wildlife study that said growers suck millions of gallons of water from salmon streams.

Mexico claims another blow against cartels: how real?

Posted on October 16th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

MexicoMexico claimed another capture of a long-fugitive cartel kingpin Oct. 9, when Vicente Carrillo Fuentes AKA "El Viceroy" surrendured without a shot after being recognized by federal police at a checkpoint in Torreon, Coahuila. A bodyguard in the car was also taken into custody. El Viceroy, top boss of the Juárez Cartel, was one of Mexico's most wanted fugitives, and the US was offering a $5 million  reward for information leading to his arrest or conviction. (CNN, Oct. 9) However, like Héctor Beltran Leyva of the Beltran Leyva Organization, who was apprehended just days earlier, the Viceroy headed a crime syndicate that was already in decline—squeezed out by the twin behemoths of the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas.

Japanese Buddhists hold world peace ceremony in Cuzco

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

CuzcoThe Japanese Buddhist community Shinnyo-en on Sept. 14 joined with Quechua elders and shamans for a "Prayer for World Peace" at Saksaywaman, the Inca archeaological site just outside Cuzco, Peru. Saksaywaman is a walled complex on the northern outskirts of the city of Cuzco, the former capital of the Inca Empire and today a UNESCO World Heritage site. The event included both traditional Quechua dance ritual and a special fire ceremony officiated by Her Holiness Shinso Ito, leader of Shinnyo-en and daughter of the late Shinjo Ito, who founded Shinnyo-en at Kyoto's ancient Daigoji monastery in 1943. Shinnyo-en is part of the esoteric Shingon Buddhist tradition, which dates to the 9th century CE. (Shinyo-En, Sept. 14; Cusco en Positivo, Sept. 11)

Colombia: peasants detain soldiers after villagers’ arrest

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

ColombiaOn Oct. 3, authorities invaded the pueblo of El Reposo, in Campamento municipality of Colombia's Antioquia department, arresting three locals—including a minor and the president of the village Communal Action Junta—in connection with a supposed cocaine laboratory discovered nearby. But El Reposo's residents quickly turned the tables, rising up with their machetes, demanding that the three be liberated—and finally detaining 14 soliders and six agents from the Fiscalía Technical Corps. The soliders and agents were held for several hours in the village schoolhouse. The government of Antioquia and Colombia's human rights ombudsman, the Defensoría del Pueblo, quickly mobilized a team to El Reposo to negotiate the release of the troops and agents. However, demands for the freedom of the three arrested locals remain outstanding, and the situation is still tense. (Semana, Bogotá, Oct. 3; Colombia Reports, La W Radio, BLU Radio, RCNEl Espectador, Bogotá, Oct. 3)

NYC: pistol-whipped for cannabis possession

Posted on October 8th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

New York CityTwo New York City cops have been disciplined after a disturbing video surfaced showing a 16-year-old boy pistol-whipped and beaten after being stopped on suspicion of pot possession. A Brooklyn grand jury is to begin hearing evidence in the case to determine whether criminal charges should be brought against the cops, according to the Daily News of Oct. 7. The video, taken around 2:20 AM on Aug. 29, shows Kahreem Tribble running from police, slowing down and apparently attempting to surrender on St. John's Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant. He'd already come to a complete stop on the sidewalk when one of the cops, identified as Tyrane Isaac, threw a punch to Tribble's head. The teen put up his hands—only to have a second cop, David Afanador, slug him across the face with his sidearm. A third officer, identified as Christopher Mastoros, can be seen taking no action to help Tribble as he is brutalized. Tribble suffered several broken teeth, swelling and mouth injuries. He was arrested for marijuana possession. Police said Tribble tossed a small canvas bag as they gave chase; the recovered bag contained 17 zip-lock baggies of cannabis. "These police officers behaved themselves in a truly deplorable manner," said  Tribble's lawyer, Amy Rameau. "This type of conduct should not be tolerated and I want to see them prosecuted for what they did to my client."

Hashish mega-hauls at sea

Posted on October 7th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

Middle EastYou think those international forces patroling the coast of Somalia are supposed to be protecting the sea lanes from pirates, right? Well, that's not all they're doing. In the latest operation completed on Oct. 6, an Australian frigate, the HMAS Toowoomba, backed up by a New Zealand search plane trailed a dhow—a type of sailboat traditionally used by Arab merchants— from the Arabian Sea to the Horn of Africa. After four days, the Australian crew was able to board the dhow, and a search turned up 5.59 metric tons of hashish. The operation was conducted under the command of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), officially established to fight piracy. CTF-150 is part of the Combined Maritime Forces, which are also policing the waters of the Persian Gulf—ostensibly against terrorist infiltration, but far more often against hashish smuggling. The recent haul was its first successful counter-narcotics operation since Pakistan's navy took command of CTF-150 in August. Task Force head Commodore Sajid Mahmood said he was "incredibly proud" of the sailors and airmen involved in the bust. "CTF-150 has a long history of disrupting narcotics trafficking in the region," he enthused. "Keep up the good work!" (APNZ, Oct. 6)

Colombia and Peru in joint operation to 'cleanse' Putumayo

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

ColombiaOn Sept. 30, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala and his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos and their respective cabinet ministers held a rare joint meeting in Peru's Amazon river port of Iquitos. There, they signed a binational accord to launch a joint effort to "cleanse Putumayo"—a reference to the jungle river basin that has for many years been under the virtual control of criminal enterprises. The Río Putumayo, a tributary of the Amazon, forms the border between the two countries in the lawless region. The Colombian side is a key stronghold of the FARC guerillas, which is believed to do business with the criminal gangs that operate freely on the Peruvian side. Santos said "we have common enemies, such as the narco-traffic, illegal mining and cutting of forests." (El Tiempo, Sept. 30) He did not mention that efforts at cooperation to get the Putumayo under control have been hampered by an ongoing border dispute in the area.

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