High Times chairman Michael Kennedy dies

Posted on January 25th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Michael KennedyAttorney Michael Kennedy, the longtime guiding force behind High Times magazine, died of complications from an illness in New York Jan. 25 at the age of 78. He was the lawyer for High Times founder Tom Forçade, the notorious marijuana smuggler and political radical who started the magazine in 1974. "Tom and I became friends," Kennedy wrote in 2015. "We had five years of revolutionary pretense and fucking with the begrudgers. There were more grand juries, betrayals and sordid legal encounters. Tom brought street theater to everything he did. High Times was all theater... Tom had publishing experience, muckraking; he preferred shit-disturbing." After Forçade's death in 1978, High Times' parent company, Trans High Corp., operated as a trust until 2000 when the company was broken up into shares. Kennedy and his wife Eleanora and Forçade's family retained control of the company with Kennedy being named chairman of the board. He was also Trans High's legal counsel. During his extensive legal career, he defended the likes of acid guru Timothy Leary and Black Panther Huey Newton.

Cannabis starting to replace coca leaf in Colombia's cultivation zones

Posted on January 24th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

ColombiaOn Colombia's eastern plains, the Llanos Orientes, campesinos are starting to abandon cultivation of coca leaf for cannabis, military commanders in the region say. “"In this zone, marijuana has been replacing coca because there is more of a market for retail and micro-trafficking," Gen. Oswaldo Peña Bermeo, commander of the army's local Seventh Brigade, told Bogotá's El Tiempo newspaper Jan. 13. He spoke just after his unit had eradicated 5,400 plants on a half-hectare plot at the vereda (hamlet) of Cafetales, in Lejanías municipality, Meta department. Gen. Peña Bermeo named the varieties as Colombia's traditional "Punto Rojo" (Red Point), a stand-by sativa, and "Creepy"—a bit of a catch-all in South America for any hybridized indica strain.

Landmark cannabis case in Costa Rica

Posted on January 20th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

Central AmericaCosta Rica took a step towards becoming the next Latin American country to decriminalize cannabis Jan. 19, when attorney Mario Alberto Cerdas Salazar was cleared of cultivation charges on grounds of individual liberties. Cerdas Salazar was arrested in August at his home in the city of Alajuela in August, after publicly advocating for a personal right to use and cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and gastronomic purposes. He has been held since, charged with "drug trafficking." The Judicial Investigation Organism (OIJ, Costa Rica's answer to the FBI) said they found enough cannabis on the premises to make 5,000 cigarettes. The quantity was also ambiguously put at 170 "plants and leaves of plants." But the OIJ admitted they had no evidence the cannabis was intended for commercial purposes. The judge hearing the case, Carolina Leitón, found: "Yes, marijuana cultivation is illegal; nonetheless, it is not a crime if it is not utilized for sale." 

Internet rumor besmirches medical marijuana

Posted on January 16th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Shadow WatchThere is no end to false Internet rumors concerning our favorite herb, and the latest was just called out by those dogged rumor-busters at Snopes. It seems that Britain's Sky News of Jan. 13 reported on a clinical trial of an experimental drug in France that went horribly wrong, leaving one brain-dead and another three with what could be permanent brain damage. A total of 90 were given then new painkiller compound manufactured by the Portuguese pharma firm BIAL in a test overseen by UK-based Biotrial. The original Sky News account (as quoted by Snopes) refered to the compound as "cannabis-based." Currently, it only says that French Health Minister Marisol Touraine "denied reports the drug was based on the compound found in cannabis." But it got around before the text was changed, popping up on e-mail lists and social media.

Was Chapo's overture to Hollywood fatal?

Posted on January 10th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

ChapoThe story of the capture of Chapo Guzmán—Mexico's top fugitive drug lord—took a turn for the surreal Jan. 9 with the relevation that Hollywood heavy Sean Penn had interviewed the kingpin when he was on the lam last year for Rolling Stone magazine. In the account, Penn describes the complicated process of estabishing contact, with encrypted communications and such, before being flown from an unnamed location in central Mexico to a "jungle clearing" for some face time. We have to be a tad skeptical here. Chapo was tracked down by Mexican federales to a luxury condo in a Sinaloa seaport—nowhere near any jungle. Even if the meeting was arranged at a remote location, it was still likely to be in Chapo's northern stronghold state of Sinaloa—and the only real jungle in Mexico is in southern Chiapas state, hundreds of miles away. Taking some liberties for dramatic effect perhaps, Sean?

El Chapo re-capture: 'Mission Accomplished'?

Posted on January 9th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

MexicoMexican President Enrique Peña Nieto might have made a more auspicious choice of words in proudly announcing the recapture of fugitive drug lord Joaquin Guzmán Loera AKA "El Chapo" on Jan. 8. "Mission accomplished: we have him," the prez declared in Spanish on his Twitter account. El Chapo's escape from Mexico's top-security prison in July was a bitter humiliation for Peña Nieto and his government. The elusive Chapo had spent a decade and change as the country's most-wanted fugitive after his last escape from a Mexican prison, in 2001. The first time around, he allegedly used bribes to slip out in a laundry cart; the second time he slipped out through an elaborate tunnel that had been built from his shower block at Altiplano Prison to a nearby apartment. The Sinaloa Cartel kingpin taunted the world on social media as the second manhunt was carried out. So we have to ask: Was a nervous Peña Nieto unconsciously echoing the famously premature boast of George W. Bush after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003?

Saudi executions for 2015 set 20-year record

Posted on January 4th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

Middle EastJust 24 hours into 2016, Saudi Arabia made world headlines with the execution of a dissident Shi'ite cleric—sparking violent protests in Iran, and a breaking off of diplomatic relations. But this just punctuated a very busy year for the Saudi execution state, with most of the victims receiving little international attention, and many sent to the chopping block for victimless crimes—prominently including drug possession.

Mexico: Zapatistas host Ayotzinapa families

Posted on January 3rd, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

MexicoThe Zapatista rebels in Mexico's southern state of Chiapas marked the anniversary of their 1994 New Years Day uprising by hosting a national activist gathering in their territory. Guests of honor at the proceedings in the small pueblo of Oventic were a group of parents and other family members of the 43 students who disappeared in September 2014. The students, from Ayotzinapa in Guerrero state, are said to have been abducted by corrupt local police and turned over to a murderous narco-gang—but surviving kin and their supporters increasingly charge Mexico's government with a cover-up in the case. The Zapatistas' Subcommander Moises, joined by 43 masked rebels (one for each missing student), oversaw the ceremony and each embraced the family members. Moises expressed his own skepticism of the official investigation: "The Zapatistas believe that we cannot trust the bad governments anymore, they are the servants of capital, stewards of big capitalist business," he said. "The one calling the shots is global capitalism, that is why we cannot believe them." (TeleSur, Jan. 1)

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