cannabis

New York City: dissent grows on cannabis enforcement —but Bratton intransigent

Posted on July 10th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

New York CityIn another sign of the new progressive tilt in New York City politics, the New York Post reports July 8 that Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson has announced that he will stop prosecuting low-level marijuana cases. Thompson's press release said his new policy is to "prevent offenders—who are disproportionately young men of color—from being saddled with a criminal record for a minor, non-violent offense." But Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said his cops will keep arresting Brooklyn's cannabis tokers anyway. "In order to be effective, our police officers must enforce the laws of the State of New York uniformly throughout all five boroughs of the City," Bratton said in his own statement. "Accordingly, the Kings County policy change will not result in any changes in the policies and procedures of the NYPD."

Caribbean, West African nations to study decrim

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

CaribbeanAt the semi-annual summit of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), held July 1-4 in Antigua, regional leaders agreed to establish a commission to review marijuana policy and assess the need for reforms. The communiqué issued at the conclusion of the meeting stated: "Heads of Government agreed to establish a Regional Commission on Marijuana to conduct a rigorous enquiry into the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Region and to advise whether there should be a change in the current drug classification of marijuana, thereby making the drug more accessible for a range of users." Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who pushed to get the issue on the agenda as chair of CARICOM, said: "It seems to me counterproductive to ignore the potential of an industry in respect of medical marijuana and to continue to expend police, national security, court resources on persons who consume a minuscule amount of marijuana in the privacy of their homes." (Drug Policy, July 7)

New York passes restrictive medical marijuana law

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

New YorkGov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law July 7 that makes New York the 23rd medical marijuana state. Patient advocates celebrated a deal struck last month between Cuomo and the state legislature that will protect qualified patients from arrest, prosecution and discrimination, and license up to 20 distribution facilities across the state. The new law empowers the New York State Department of Health (DOH) to license physicians to recommend marijuana to patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, and a limited range of other medical conditions. However, the law only allows for products that use an extracted form of cannabis, such as oil or edibles, which are to be produced under a state-licensed manufacturing process. Advocates have voiced concerns over the law's 7% tax, and a prohibition on access to whole-plant cannabis. Advocates also raise concerns over the prohibitive cost for many patients who cannot afford to purchase what would otherwise be an inexpensive medicine to grow. The new law gives the DOH 18 months to establish regulations and will sunset in seven years. (ASA, July 7)

China's cannabis contradiction

Posted on June 29th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

ChinaOn June 26, International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, China's Supreme People's Court announced with pride that a whopping 39,762 have been sentenced for drug-related offenses in the People's Republic the first five months of 2014, up more than 27% for the same period last year. The official state news agency Xinhua reported that a total of 9,168, or about 23%, were sentenced to more than five years, life imprisonment, or death. A quoted SPC official made much of a supposedly growing drug meance. "Drug-related crimes have been spreading from bordering and coastal areas to the country's inland," said deputy jurist Ma Yan. South China's Guangdong province, with its booming export zones and free-wheeling capitalism, has topped the list since 2007. Yunnan and Guangxi, bordering Southeast Asia's opium-producing Golden Triangle, also continued to report high rates of drug-related crimes. But such cases are also mushrooming in inland Chongqing and northern Liaoning, Ma said. No breakdown was provided of the substances in question, but a proporiton of the cases certainly included cannabis.

Massachusetts nixes DeAngelos' Boston dispensary over pot conviction

Posted on June 28th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

SteveDeAngeloOn June 27, Massachusetts' Department of Public Health rejected an application from Green Heart Holistic Health and Pharmaceuticals to operate a dispensary in Boston, despite giving the company initial approval. The reason stated for the denial is Steve DeAngelo's criminal record. Controversy over the Green Heart dispensary, awarded to Andrew DeAngelo, erupted when Steve's participation as the financial backer and "strategic adviser" was revealed. Since Steve wouldn't be physically working at the store, his name was not included in the application. DeAngelo pleaded guilty on Aug. 6, 2001 of possession of cannabis with intent to distribute and received a five-year suspended sentence and three years' probation.

Albania: security forces battle cannabis growers

Posted on June 20th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

AlbaniaHundreds of Albanian police, backed by armored vehicles, stormed the southern village of Lazarat June 16 after cannabis growers apparently fired machine-guns, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades at officers sent in on a drug raid. Four people—a police officer and three villagers—are reported injured so far in the operation that remains underway. Smoke is reported to be rising above the village, with witnesses saying it was caused by locals burning cannabis plants before police closed in. Security forces have seized more than 10 tons of cannabis in the operation thus far. Lazarat is said to produce some 900 tons of cannabis annually, worth 4.5 billion euros ($6.1 billion)—equivalent to nearly half of Albania's gross domestic product. The village of some 5,000 people lives off the proceeds from the cannabis trade. Aerial photos suggest some 60 hectares were cultivated in Lazarat last November, amounting to an estimated half the total production of Albania. Heavily armed villagers have repeatedly fended off security forces sent in to eradicate the crop. 

Jamaica moves closer to ganja decrim

Posted on June 17th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

CaribbeanFollowing months of speculation, Jamaica's Justice Minister Mark Golding on June 15 announced that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and her cabinet have approved changes to the Dangerous Drugs Act, decriminalizing "small quantities of ganja for personal use." Under the amended law, possession of up to 57 grams (2 ounces) would become an infraction, resulting only in a fine. Failure to pay the fine within 30 days would be a minor offense, punishable by a court order of community service. "Too many of our young people have ended up with criminal convictions after being caught with a spliff, something that has affected their ability to do things like get jobs and get visas to travel overseas," Golding said in his statement. Hearteningly, the law would be retroative, with a measure to expunge the criminal records of those convicted of personal possession. Another proposed measure would decriminalize ganja possession for religious or therapeutic purposes—leaving unclear what the permissible quantity would be in such cases. The cabinet is expected to submit the proposed changes to parliament in the coming weeks.

Morocco-Libya hashish pipeline?

Posted on June 12th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

North AfricaMoroccan police have announced the seizure of nearly 30 tons of hashish in Casablanca, one of the largest hauls in the top cannabis-exporting country in years. According to the official MAP news agency, police raided a warehouse in the port city June 7, seizing 12 tons of chira, after the discovery a day earlier of 16.7 tons hidden inside a shipping container at the port, thought to be part of the same consignment.  The container was apparently bound for Libya. Police arrested two men, including one said to be the leader of the smuggling ring. Judicial police chief Abdelhak Khayyam said an investigation has been launched into "a large-scale trafficking operation, sending the drug to an Arab country via Casablanca port."

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