cannabis

Cannabis stigma exploited in Ferguson case —of course

Posted on October 23rd, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

MissouriOK, remember how George Zimmerman's legal team in the Trayvon Martin case attempted to introduce as evidence that the youth's autopsy had shown trace amounts of THC in his bloodstream—a blatant play at exploiting the irrational cannabis stigma? Well... here we go again. This time it concerns Michael Brown, the 18-year-old African American shot by police on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo., sparking a local intifada. A copy of Brown's autopsy was leaked to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, which offers the following headline: "Official autopsy shows Michael Brown had close-range wound to his hand, marijuana in system." Other papers that have picked up the story have also headlined the absolutely irrelevant cannabis claim—for instance, New York's Daily News, which opted for "Michael Brown autopsy, officer's account indicate teen went for Ferguson cop's gun, had marijuana in his system: report." 

Northern California grow ops named as threat to salmon

Posted on October 21st, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

CaliforniaA Sept. 30 Associated Press story that got wide play in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest marked another concern about the ecological impacts of outdoor cannabis grows in the Emerald Traingle. The NOAA Fisheries Service in its new coho salmon recovery plan for the Northern California and Southern Oregon region finds that water use by the marijuana industry further threatens salmon already in danger of extinction. The plan calls for determining and decreasing the amount of water that growers illegally withdraw from creeks where young fish struggle to survive. Other threats from the unregulated industry include clear-cutting to make way for grows, punching roads that send sediment into streams, and use of fertilizer and pesticides that poison waters. Coho salmon have been listed as a threatened species since 1997, due to loss of habitat from logging, agriculture, urban development and dams, as well as overfishing—issues also addressed in the recovery plan. The highlighting of cannabis stems from a California Department of Fish and Wildlife study that said growers suck millions of gallons of water from salmon streams.

NYC: pistol-whipped for cannabis possession

Posted on October 8th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

New York CityTwo New York City cops have been disciplined after a disturbing video surfaced showing a 16-year-old boy pistol-whipped and beaten after being stopped on suspicion of pot possession. A Brooklyn grand jury is to begin hearing evidence in the case to determine whether criminal charges should be brought against the cops, according to the Daily News of Oct. 7. The video, taken around 2:20 AM on Aug. 29, shows Kahreem Tribble running from police, slowing down and apparently attempting to surrender on St. John's Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant. He'd already come to a complete stop on the sidewalk when one of the cops, identified as Tyrane Isaac, threw a punch to Tribble's head. The teen put up his hands—only to have a second cop, David Afanador, slug him across the face with his sidearm. A third officer, identified as Christopher Mastoros, can be seen taking no action to help Tribble as he is brutalized. Tribble suffered several broken teeth, swelling and mouth injuries. He was arrested for marijuana possession. Police said Tribble tossed a small canvas bag as they gave chase; the recovered bag contained 17 zip-lock baggies of cannabis. "These police officers behaved themselves in a truly deplorable manner," said  Tribble's lawyer, Amy Rameau. "This type of conduct should not be tolerated and I want to see them prosecuted for what they did to my client."

Hashish mega-hauls at sea

Posted on October 7th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

Middle EastYou think those international forces patroling the coast of Somalia are supposed to be protecting the sea lanes from pirates, right? Well, that's not all they're doing. In the latest operation completed on Oct. 6, an Australian frigate, the HMAS Toowoomba, backed up by a New Zealand search plane trailed a dhow—a type of sailboat traditionally used by Arab merchants— from the Arabian Sea to the Horn of Africa. After four days, the Australian crew was able to board the dhow, and a search turned up 5.59 metric tons of hashish. The operation was conducted under the command of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), officially established to fight piracy. CTF-150 is part of the Combined Maritime Forces, which are also policing the waters of the Persian Gulf—ostensibly against terrorist infiltration, but far more often against hashish smuggling. The recent haul was its first successful counter-narcotics operation since Pakistan's navy took command of CTF-150 in August. Task Force head Commodore Sajid Mahmood said he was "incredibly proud" of the sailors and airmen involved in the bust. "CTF-150 has a long history of disrupting narcotics trafficking in the region," he enthused. "Keep up the good work!" (APNZ, Oct. 6)

Sequel needed

Posted on October 3rd, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

Dean BeckerDean Becker, a former reporter at non-commercial KPFT in Houston, has produced a worthwhile if deceptively named book in To End the War on Drugs: A Guide for Politicians, the Press and Public. Rather than the activist how-to manual promised in the subtitle, it is a series of interviews with leading lights in the drug policy reform movement. And rather than explaining how, they are mostly making the case as to why the "drug war" must end.

Italian military to grow medical marijuana

Posted on September 30th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

ItalyItaly's government announced Sept. 18 plans to cultivate medical marijuana at a secure military lab outside Florence and distribute it through pharmacies. Medical marijuana has been legal in Italy since 2007, but only some 60 patients have signed up with the program overseen by the national healthcare system, the Azienda Sanitaria Locale. The Florence Military Chemical-Pharmaceutical Plant (SCFM) currently produces so-called "orphan drugs" no longer made by large pharmaceutical companies but still needed to treat rare diseases. It is now to grow cannabis under a deal signed between Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti and Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin. "The institute already produces some medicines," Pinotti told Reuters, addressing the unlikely prospect of entrusting the military with weed cultivation. "And we can guarantee security conditions."

Saudi Arabia goes on beheading spree

Posted on September 19th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Middle EastWhile ISIS has sparked global outrage with its beheading of journalists (and less global outrage for its beheading of captive Kurdish and Syrian fighters), US ally Saudi Arabia has been on a beheading spree of its own. We've noted that Saudi Arabia is among the Middle Eastern nations responsible for a global execution spike. Al Jazeera reported on Sept. 2 that Saudi Arabia carried out more than one execution per day in the first three weeks of August. The Saudi Ministry of Justice has announced the execution of 26 since Aug. 4. In the seven months prior to that date, 15 executions were carried out, bringing the total number to 41 so far this year. Drug charges have been prominent. Four were beheaded in the southwestern city of Najran on Aug. 18 after being convicted of smuggling "a large quantity of hashish" into the country. The Saudi Press Agency boasted that King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and his government are taking aggressive measures against the "social ill of narcotics" and meting out punishment "according to Sharia." Creepily, a man was beheaded Aug. 19 in the northern city of Qurayyat on charges of "sorcery." Amnesty International denounced what it called a "disturbing surge" in executions in the desert kingdom. "The Saudi Arabian authorities must halt all executions," the group said, adding that some beheadings were "reportedly on the basis of forced confessions extracted through torture."

ISIS burns Syrian cannabis fields

Posted on September 1st, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

Middle EastThe extremist ISIS—now calling themselves the "Islamic State"—have left a bloody trail of mass murder in their advance across large swaths of northern Syria and Iraq over the past three months, slaughtering and enslaving Christians, Shi'ites and others deemed to be heretics. It is hardly surprising that they've been taking a tough line on cannabis. ISIS militants have posted footage on the Internet showing their men burning  cannabis fields in the Syrian governorate of Aleppo. The video, online at The Telegraph, shows men cutting down the plants in a large field, making a number of piles, dousing them with a flammable liquid and setting them alight. ISIS claim they discovered the farm after having captured the town of Akhtarin from the rival Free Syrian Army in recent weeks. The militants claim the farm owner fled over the nearby border with Turkey, according to Huffington Post.

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