Traffic Roots Pixel


UK khat ban fails to stop contraband imports —surprise!

Posted on January 19th, 2018 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

khatHere's some news that should surprise nobody. International efforts to suppress the trade in a psychoactive plant are failing to do so, but are jacking up the social costs of its use—which might be quite negligible if the stuff weren't illegal. In this case we're talking about khat, the mildly stimulating leaf that is chewed socially in the Horn of Africa and its immigrant diaspora. It was sold openly at groceries and eateries in London's African communities until Britain finally banned the stuff in of 2014, following the example of the United States (of course). At that time, it became a Class C substance under the UK Misuse of Drugs Act. By way of comparison, cannabis is in the more restrictive Class B—although between 2004 and 2008 pot was placed in Class C, and there is an initiative to have it removed from the classification system altogether.

Bolivia's African king speaks for coca growers

Posted on December 11th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .
BoliviaAmong the coca-growing peasants of Bolivia's Yungas region (the country's prime legal cultivation zone) is a substantial Afro-Bolivian population—descendants of slaves who were brought in by the Spanish colonialists to work in the silver mines and haciendas centuries ago. Some have inter-married with the indigenous Aymara people of the Yungas, forming a distinctive Afro-Aymara culture.

Darfur: cannabis cover for counterinsurgency?

Posted on November 19th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

AfricaSudan's conflicted western region of Darfur has receded from the headlines since the wave of global concern about genocide there a decade ago. But horrific violence in the stark desert region continues—and there are signs that Sudan's regime is resorting to the tried-and-true tactic of using drug enforcement as a rationale for counterinsurgency. AFP reports that Sudan's paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), usually used to fight rebels in the country's conflict areas, are now boasting a massive hashish haul of 19 metric tons in the state of South Darfur.

Khat thrives in independent Somaliland

Posted on September 14th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

SomalilandHere's a telling irony. We think of Somalia as a country that has basically had no functioning government for over a generation, and is beset by insurgents linked to al-Qaeda. Certainly, how a government treats a relatively harmless psychoactive herb is a good barometer of its general commitment to freedom. The herb in question here is khat, the mildly stimulating leaf that is chewed socially throughout the Horn of Africa. And we've noted how even the weak "official" government in Somalia has been cracking down on khat in a bid to appease the Shabaab insurgents.

Who is world's top cannabis producer?

earthThe United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) last week issued its World Drug Report 2017—its 20th annual survey of production, trafficking and eradication and enforcement efforts around the globe. In past years, the report has sought to quantify the amount of cannabis cultivated in each producer country—over the past decade consistently placing Morocco in first place, generally followed by Mexico and Paraguay. This general trend continues—with some new variations.

Somalia overturns ban of khat imports

Posted on September 14th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

khatSomalia on Sept. 13 agreed to lift its recently imposed ban on imports of the mildly psychoactive leaf khat after an outcry of protest from angry cultivators in neighboring Kenya. The decision was announced at a summit of East African leaders in the Somali capital, Mogadishu—the first such gathering in 40 years in the war-torn region. While it is widely chewed in Somalia, khat (also called miraa) is grown in Kenya and Ethiopia, where large farming communities rely on exports for their livelihoods. Reversal of the ban is apparently effective immediately. Kenya's foreign minister Amina Mohamed said at the summit, "The leaders have discussed relations between the two countries and...the Miraa ban will be lifted by September 14th."

Congo basin tribe uses medical cannabis: study

Posted on August 14th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

AfricaThe Slog blog makes note of a new report from anthropologists at Washington State University which appeared in the American Journal of Human Biology, entitled: "High prevalence of cannabis use among Aka foragers of the Congo Basin and its possible relationship to helminthiasis." The research found that roughly 95% of Aka men smoke tobacco (compared to 17% in Black Africa and 31% globally) and 68% smoke cannabis—both of which are correlated with lower rates of helminths, or parasitic worms. The Aka didn't tell researchers they smoke to prevent helminths, but to "increase their courage on a hunt, dance better, increase their vital force, or to increase their work capacity when working for Europeans or village people." They say cannabis is especially helpful when hunting elephants, and that women prefer husbands who smoke—which could account for the especially high rates of male smoking. But the researchers surmised that plant toxins in cannabis and tobacco alike serve to protect the Aka from parasites, and they are unconsciously self-medicating with the herb.

International drug trade funds Boko Haram insurgency

Posted on January 27th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

AfricaThe brutal Boko Haram rebels are gaining ground at a frightening pace in northwest Nigeria, even mounting a bloody attack this week on the region's major city, Maiduguri. Reports are mounting that the exremist movement is funding its insurgency by exploiting Nigeria's strategic place as a crossroads of the global narco-traffick. BBC News on Jan. 25 asked "How have Nigeria's militants become so strong?" It cited the findings of the International Crisis Group that Boko Haram "has forged ties with arms smugglers in the lawless parts of the vast Sahel region." Plenty of its arms (including tanks and armored vehicles) have been plundered from the Nigerian army itself. But plenty more are thought to have come from Libya, where arms depots were looted when Moammar Qaddafi's regime was overthrown in 2011. Trafficking networks have been moving that plundered war material across the Sahel and Sahara, integrating the traffick into routes already established for moving drugs and other contraband between West Africa, Europe and Asia.

Who's new

  • Baba Israel
  • Karr Young
  • John Veit
  • YosephLeib
  • Peter Gorman