Remembering Judith Malina, matriarch of Living Theatre

Posted on April 16th, 2015 by Baba Israel and tagged , , , , , , .

Judith MalinaJudith Malina, co-founder of the legendary Living Theatre, a ground-breaking and activist-oriented troupe that helped pioneer the countercultural explosion of the 1960s and still challenges audiences today, died April 10 at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, NJ. She was 88 and still actively involved in the Living Theatre. This remembrance is offered by Baba Israel, a New York-based hip-hop artist and cultural worker whose parents were core members of the Living Theatre.Global Ganja Report

Judge upholds Schedule I classification of cannabis

Posted on April 16th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

THCUS District Judge Kimberly Mueller in Sacramento—who made history by granting the first extended hearings in federal court on the question of cannabis' continued listing under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act—on April 15 closed the hearings by ruling that the plant's Schedule I status is constitutional. "At some point in time," said Judge Mueller in issuing her decision in US v. Schweder et al, "a court may decide this status to be unconstitutional. But this is not the court and not the time." The Obama appointee decided to rule on the merits of the case, disregarding the insistence of federal prosecutors that she dismiss the motion for lack of standing by the defendants. For her standard of review, she applied the "rational basis test" to the defendants' challenge to cannabis' Schedule I status under the Equal Protection Clause. Under that standard, said Judge Mueller, "the statute passes muster. The questions raised by the defense are for Congress to resolve." Defendants say they will appeal to the Ninth Circuit. (The Leaf Online, Courthouse News Service, April 15)

Chicago to pay in police torture scandal

Posted on April 15th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

The city of Chicago on April 14 proposed a $5.5 million reparations fund for dozens of torture victims connected to former police Commander Jon Burge and his so-called "midnight crew of rogue detectives," the Chicago Tribune reports. The proposal, negotiated with a plaintiff's attorney and supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, would offer free city college tuition for victims and their families, free psychological counseling, and other such assistance to more than 50 potential victims. The city would also issue a formal apology, create a permanent memorial recognizing the victims and ensure that the new generation of students in Chicago public schools is taught about the Burge case. Other inmates who assert their confessions were extracted through torture continue to fight to overturn convictions and win their freedom. The scandal has already cost tax-payers some $100 million in lawsuit settlements, judgments and other legal costs.

Spain: holograms protest anti-protest law

Posted on April 14th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

SpainActivists in Spain staged a creative protest against the country's new "Citizen Safety Law" on April 10—projecting holograms of themselves that marched on the parliament building in Madrid. This was making the point that under the law, actual flesh-and-blood marches on government buildings would be banned—along with filming the police, failing to obey police orders, burning the national flag, or holding any protest without a permit. The ghostly hologram march was a joint effort by the groups No Somos Delito (We Are Not a Crime, the coalition that's come together to oppose the new "gag law") and the tech-savvy Hologramas por la Libertad (Holograms for Freedom). People worldwide were invited to record videos of themselves marching and holding signs, that were converted into holograms. The stunt was avidly covered both by lefty activist websites like Revolution News and techie-geek sites like Engadget. "Our protest with holograms is ironic," organizer Carlos Escano told the Spanish press, according to CNN. "With the restrictions we're suffering on our freedoms of association and peaceful assembly, the last option that will be left to us in the end will be to protest through our holograms." 

Laos to lighten up on medicinal opium?

Posted on April 5th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

South East AsiaLaos was once a major opium producer—and now production is creeping up there again after eradication efforts had dramatically slashed it. But this time around authorities may take a more tolerant and realistic approach. Voice of America reported March 27 that the Asian Development Bank and other international donors helping Laos promote alternatives to opium production are actually listening to analysts who emphasize the reasons for the bounce in production. Poppy cultivation in Laos fell from a peak of 26,800 hectares in 1998 to 1,800 hectares by 2005 under an aggressive eradication program. In 2006 the Laotian government declared the country "drug free." Now, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) finds cultivation in Laos rose to some 6,200 hectares in 2014. However, while the far greater quantities of opium grown in neighboring Burma are largely processed into heroin for export, much of that in Laos is consumed locally for traditional and medicinal use by hill tribes in country's remote north.

Crown Heights peanut butter connection

Posted on April 2nd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

New York CityWhen Brooklyn neighborhood website CrownHeights.info reported on April 1 that a kosher grocery store in the Jewish enclave had received in the mail 10 bags of cannabis hidden in vacuum-sealed plastic containers of peanut butter—well, we thought it was an April Fool joke. But the website's source was the previous day's New York Post, and it looks pretty legit. The grocery, Kahan's Superette on Kingston Ave., apparently reported the find to the police. "Wrong delivery address results in the seizure of 10 large bags of marijuana wrapped in peanut butter," the 71st Precinct tweeted, along with a photo of the gooey mess. "I have no idea where it came from. It was just dropped off," a worker at the store told the Post. The store sells such fare as kosher chicken, bagels, cream cheese and fresh salmon, according to its Facebook page. Nobody seems to have asked if Kahan’s had ordered a shipment of peanut butter—maybe to make peanut butter macaroons for the upcoming Passover holiday.

Parents of missing Mexican students take campaign to US

Posted on March 31st, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

MexicoMarch 28 saw more angry protests in Mexico's conflicted southern state of Guerrero, as students from the rural college of Ayotzinapa clashed with police in the state capital Chilpancingo at a march demanding the return alive of the 43 abducted students from the school. Cars were set on fire as police attacked the marchers. The 43 students disappeared during protests in the Guerrero town of Iguala last September, and are now believed to have been turned over a murderous narco-gang by corrupt police. The weekend before the  Chilpancingo demonstration, family members of some of the 43 missing students held a vigil in New York City's Union Square—one stop on a tour of US cities to raise awareness on their plight and protest Washington's "Drug War" aid to Mexico's brutal and corrupt police forces. Felipe de la Cruz, a spokesperson for the Ayotzinapa families, told the crowd in Union Square: "Here, from the heart of imperialism, we are not going to permit this case to be closed." The group's most recent stop, on March 29, was Minneapolis, where they held a public forum at the city's Church of the Ascension. (Siglo de Torreon, TeleSURStar-Tribune, March 29; La Jornada, March 22)

Colombia: DEA agents in new prostitution scandal

Posted on March 30th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

ColombiaDEA agents in Colombia held sex parties with prostitutes hired by narco-traffickers, according to an investigation by the US Justice Department released March 26.  In a series of interviews with DoJ's Office of the Inspector General, former Colombian police officers said that they arranged the parties at government-leased quarters between 2005 and 2008, and also provided protection for the agents' weapons and property during the affairs. The report goes on to detail how several DEA agents were provided money, gifts, and weapons by local drug cartel operatives.

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