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Middle East leads global execution spike

Amnesty International's latest world report on the death penalty finds that a number of nations in the Middle East have fueled a spike in global figures with a spree of executions.

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Global Ganja Report News Blog

Strange bedfellows in Israel medical cannabis push

Posted on October 24th, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastIsrael has the world's highest proportion of registered medical marijuana users—but the program has been kept under tight control of the Health Ministry. Now, Israel's parliament, the Knesset, is set to vote on a bill that would allow private physicians to prescribe cannabis for their patients. Health Minister Yael German opposes the measure, making the usual argument that it would open the floodgates of recreational use: "It would not be unrealistic to assume that there would be patients who would pressure doctors to write them a cannabis prescription for any bump, headache or toothache."

Brazil: deadly prison riot sets off angry protests

Posted on October 11th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

Southern ConeAt least 13 inmates were killed and some 30 injured in a clash between rival gangs Oct. 10 at Pedrinhas prison in São Luis, in Brazil's northeastern state of Maranhão. Authorities said violence broke out after guards discovered inmates digging an escape tunnel. The inmates fought the attacking guards and started a fire, as members of rival gangs took advantage of the confusion to settle scores. Then, as news of the conflagration broke, relatives of inmates gathered outside the prison, demanding information. When this was not forthcoming, they began to throw stones at the guards, fought back police, took over a roadway, and set several buses on fire.

Albania emerges as top European cannabis hub

Posted on October 10th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

EuropeItalian police say Albania, the impoverished Balkan country just across the Adriatic Sea, is the source for vast quantities of cannabis entering G8 and EU member Italy. In the latest major haul in July, Italian Finance Police intercepted a full metric ton of cannabis from a speedboat along the coast of southern Puglia region. Four crewmen were arrested—two Italian and two Albanian. This came one month after the Finance Police released the results of months of air reconnaissance of Albania's hinterland, undertaken in a joint operation with Albanian police—identifying 500 cannabis plantations, accounting for a combined production of 1,000 metric tons with an estimated retail value of 4.5 billion euros. Over the past 20 years since the fall of its rigidly closed Communist dictatorship, Albania has won the title of "Europe's Afghanistan" for its prodigious cannabis production.

Morocco hashish exports through the roof

Posted on October 10th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

North AfricaAlgeria  seized more than 127 metric tons of hashish coming in from Morocco in the first eight months of 2013, authorities announced Oct. 2. Some 12,500 suspected traffickers were arrested and large quantities of various  psychotropic pills were also confiscated in raids. (These two trades seem to together in Middle East networks.) Algeria has officially closed its border with the conservative kingdom to the west since 1994, citing political tensions and the flow of contraband. But the trade obviously flourishes, with subsidized Algerian fuel  smuggled into Morocco in a dope-for-oil deal. In 2012, more than 157 tons of cannabis were seized in Algeria, compared with 53  in 2011. The explosion has prompted Algiers to beef up security on its western frontier. (Lebanon Daily Star, Oct. 2)

SCOTUS turns down appeal of rescheduling case

Posted on October 8th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

SCOTUSThe US Supreme Court on Oct. 7 rejected a challenge to the federal government's classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug with no legitimate medical use. Challenger Americans for Safe Access contended that more than 200 studies have established that cannabis is safe and effective in relieving pain and nausea, and in relieving the effects of chemotherapy, among other medical uses. But federal courts have let stand the Drug Enforcement Administration's stance that the studies are insufficient.

Mexico: eradication ops sweep Golden Triangle

Posted on October 7th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

MexicoAs harvest season approaches in northern Mexico's remote and rugged Golden Triangle, army and police forces are carrying out aggressive cannabis eradication campaigns. Commanders of the Fifth Military Region—straddling the states of Jalisco and Zacatecas—report that over the month of September, 882  marijuana plants covering an area of 115 hectares were burned in their fields, along with 284 opium plants covering 19 hectares. Military forces in Durango state gave a figure of 23 metric tons of harvested cannabis desrtroyed, as well as 500 combined marijuana and opium plants.

Secession fever sweeps Colorado, California counties —cannabis backlash?

Posted on October 7th, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

ColoradoOn Colorado's northeast plains, advocates of secession from the state have managed to put the question before voters in 11 counties this November—potentially bringing a split-the-state initiative to statewide vote by November 2014. As Weld County Commissioner and leading secession proponent Sean Conway explained to reporters, an "advisory" vote at the county level would require local lawmakers to request that state legislators introduce a constitutional amendment allowing the northeastern counties to go their own way. That would require two-thirds approval by both houses. Failing that, proponents could put the measure to statewide vote by collecting 80,000 signatures. Finally, the initiative would have to be approved by the US Congress. So it is an arduous process—but proponents are clearly dead serious.

Swiss decrim law takes effect

Posted on October 7th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

EuropeA cannabis decriminalization law took effect in Switzerland Oct. 1. From the start of this month, possession of up to 10 grams is punishable only by a fine of 100 Swiss Francs (approximately $110) for those over the age of 18. The new law is an effort to unify what had been a patchwork of policies that varied by locality. The measure is expected to save money by cutting back on the 30,000 cannabis-related cases that make their way to the courts each year.

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