Native American church schism sues for right to cannabis

cannabisA seemingly schismatic Oregon branch of the Native American Church claims the US government illegally seized its sacramental cannabis—and is fighting in court to get it back. Oklevueha Native American Church leaders James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney and Joy Graves brought the case Jan. 15 in a US district court in Portland. Graves says she mailed five ounces of cannabis to a church member in Ohio on Dec. 10, but it never arrived. The Postal Service tracking website reported that the package had been seized by law enforcement. A postal inspector in Portland told her cannabis is illegal under federal law and was unimpressed by her claim that she sent the herb to a church member with esophageal cancer for use in healing rituals, according to Courthouse News Service. Oregon legalized medical marijuana in 2007 and approved recreational cannabis through a ballot measure last year. Both remain illegal in Ohio, although small quantities are decriminalized there. Sending cannabis through the mails is a federal crime.

Italy decriminalizes medical marijuana cultivation —for some

Posted on January 28th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

ItalyItaly took a step towards relaxing its marijuana policy Jan. 15, when the Council of Ministers approved a measure that removes criminal penalties for researchers who violate terms of their cultivation license, making it punishable only by a light fine. Justice Minister Andrea Orlando was quick to emphasize: "This does not decriminalize those growing weed on their terrace." The Italian military maintains a monopoly on cultivation for medical users, while only a handful of private firms have licenses to cultivate for research purposes. Those caught growing their own without a license still face up to a year in prison and a €4 million fine. But support is growing in parliament for a general decriminalization or even legalization that would extend to personal cultivation. Last July, over 200 lawmakers agreed to provisional text for a legalization bill.

Spanish police can't break Moroccan connection

Posted on January 28th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

SpainOperation TELOS, an effort by Spain's Guardia Civil to halt the flow of Moroccan hashish into the Iberian peninsula, is now in its thrid year—but ongoing busts only testify to the ingenuity and resources of the smugglers. On Jan. 13, the Guardia announced that they'd broken up a ring that brought the stuff into Spain's southern province of Cadiz using a fleet of pleasure boats with false bottoms, arresting 17 people and seizing five of the boats along with 4.5 ton of hash. The arrests were made in a series of raids over the past months. The nationality of those arrested was not specified. 

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?

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