California Indian tribes to cash in on cannabis? Maybe not...

Posted on December 18th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

CaliforniaIn an historic move to respect Native American sovereignty earlier this month, the US Department of Justice (DoJissued a memo instructing US attorneys to not interfere with tribes cultivating or selling cannabis on reservation lands. The caveat is that the tribes have to be in conformity with state law, limiting the new policy to states that have legalized (Colorado, Washington) or have strong medical marijuana programs (California, Montana). Tribes must also maintain "robust and effective regulatory systems," as John Walsh, US attorney for Colorado, told the Los Angeles Times. But US attorney for North Dakota Timothy Purdon, the Attorney General's pointman on Native American Issues, added: "The tribes have the sovereign right to set the code on their reservations." US News & World Report even speculated: "Marijuana may displace casinos as reservation cash cows."

Chicago link to Mexican mass abduction?

Posted on December 15th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , .

Reuters on Dec. 10 reported that the alleged Chicago jefe of Mexico's Guerreros Unidos narco-gang faces federal charges with seven others for a plot that involved moving heroin and cocaine to the Windy City in passenger buses. Pablo Vega Cuevas and his brother-in-law, Alexander Figueroa, both of Aurora, Ill., were arrested in Oklahoma; three suspected accomplices were busted in the Chicago area. Warrants have been issued for three others, including one believed to be in Mexico. The investigation led to the seizure of 68 kilos of heroin, nine kilos of cocaine and more than $500,000 in cash. "These arrests will have a significant impact on the supply and distribution of heroin and cocaine throughout the Midwest," Dennis Wichern, the DEA's Chicago special agent-in-charge, said in a statement.

Restriction on medical marijuana enforcement in omnibus budget bill

Posted on December 10th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

medical marijuanaThe House and Senate appropriations leadership has hammered out a budget bill that includes an historic amendment to curb federal Department of Justice (DoJ) enforcement in medical marijuana states. The measure, which was originally passed by the House in May with a 219-189 vote, aims to prohibit the DoJ from spending taxpayer money to undermine state medical marijuana laws. "This is great news for medical marijuana patients all across the country," said Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), one of the co-authors of the House measure. "This amendment protects patients while the federal government catches up with the views of the American people. Patients will have access to the care legal in their state without fear of federal prosecution. And our federal dollars will be spent more wisely on fighting actual crimes and not wasted going after patients."

Sentencing in Sinaloa Cartel's Chicago connection

Posted on December 9th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , .

MexicoThe sentencing last month in a case related to the Sinaloa Cartel's Chicago connection provided further fodder for the increasingly plausible conspiracy theory that the DEA protected Mexico's biggest criminal machine. Federal Judge Ruben Castillo sentenced Alfredo Vázquez Hernández, who had been extradited after serving a sentence in Mexico, to 22 years in prison for shipping 276 kilograms of cocaine to Chicago hidden in railway cars. Federal  prosecutors said Vazquez was a top-ranking operative of the Sinaloa synidcate, who arranged airplanes, submarines, trains and trucks to move cocaine from Colombia to Chicago via Mexico. Vazquez was characterized as a lifelong friend of the cartel's now-imprisoned top kingpin "Shorty" Guzmán. Judge Castillo said this hadn't been proved, but stated:  “Given the amount, it’s nonsensical to think this was this defendant’s inaugural voyage into cocaine trafficking."

Police 'anti-crime' extermination campaign in Congo

Posted on December 5th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

AfricaThe decades-long civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo shows signs of winding down, but is apparently leaving in its wake a good old "anti-crime" police state that sees impoverished youth as a threat and seeks to exterminate them. Human Rights Watch reported last month that police in the DRC summarily killed at least 51 youth and "forcibly disappeared" 33 others during an anti-crime campaign that began a year ago. "Operation Likofi," which lasted from November 2013 to February 2014, was officially a crackdown on criminal gangs in Congo's capital, Kinshasa. HRW's report, "Operation Likofi: Police Killings and Enforced Disappearances in Kinshasa," details how uniformed police, often wearing masks, dragged suspected gang members—known as kuluna—from their homes at night and executed them. Police shot and killed the unarmed young men and boys outside their homes, in open markets where they slept or worked, or in nearby fields or empty lots. Many others were taken without warrants to unknown locations, never to be seen again.

Colombia: corrupt cops caught in crackdown

Posted on December 5th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

ColombiaNineteen officers of Colombia's National Police force have been arrested this week in Medellín, the latest busts in an ongoing sweep of corrupt officers. Another 27 were arrested along with the officers, accused of being their handlers for criminal bosses. The targetted officers, associated with the downtown Candelaria police station, are accused of collaborating with Los Urabeños narco-paramilitary gang. Prosecutors say the officers were paid to turn a blind eye to criminal activity in the plazas of downtown Medellín, and to provide tip-offs on planned raids. The arrests come under the National Police force's new "Transparency Plan." National Police commander Rodolfo Palomino tweeted:  "They deserve to be treated like Judas, public officials of any institution that are thrown into the maw of corruption." Last month, 25 National Police agents were arrested in the crackdown nationwide. (Colombia Reports, Dec. 4; Colomba Reports, Nov. 20)

House bill to overturn VA medical marijuana ban

Posted on November 22nd, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

medical marijuanaUS representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), along with ten bipartisan co-sponsors introduced, the Veterans Equal Access Act (VEAA) Nov. 20, to allow our country's veterans to become medical marijuana patients in states where it's legal. The VEAA would allow Veterans Affairs (VA) physicians to recommend medical marijuana to their patients, a right enjoyed by physicians outside of the VA system. "Post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury are just as damaging and harmful as any injuries that are visible from the outside," said Blumenauer, the bill's author. "Sometimes even more so because of the devastating effect they can have on a veteran's family. We should be allowing these wounded warriors access to the medicine that will help them survive and thrive, including medical marijuana, not treating them like criminals and forcing them into the shadows. It's shameful."

Mexico: massive march against narco-state

Posted on November 21st, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoOn Nov. 20, the anniversary of Mexico's 1910 revolution, tens of thousands of protesters filled the streets of downtown Mexico City in a massive demonstration of public anger over government corruption and the abduction of 43 college students at Iguala in southern Guerrero state. The marchers converged from three directions on the capital's enormous central plaza, the Zócalo, where President Enrique Peña Nieto was burned in effigy and clashes erupted. Some protesters hurled Molotov cocktails at police in the plaza. Similar clashes were reported near Mexico City's airport. The march was part of a national mobilization. Three caravans, led by family members of the missing students, travelled throughout the country before uniting in the capital for the march on the Zócalo. In southern Chiapas state, the caravan met with leaders of the Zapatista rebel movement, which issued a statement in support of the protesters. At an earlier march on the Zócalo Nov. 9, protesters managed to burn down the door of the National Palace.  A general strike has been called across Mexico.

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