cannabis

#BlackLivesMatter and the cannabis stigma

Posted on May 4th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

BlackLivesMatterHere we go again. As with Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, conservative pundits are now exploiting the cannabis stigma to tarnish the reputation of Freddie Gray, the young African American man whose death at the hands of the Baltimore police last month led to an uprising in the city, a new national wave of #BlackLivesMatter protests, and finally charges against six officers. Daily Caller gloats in a headline: "Freddie Gray Had A Long Rap Sheet"... But take a look at the provided list of charges: "Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance... Possession of narcotics with intent to distribute... Possession of marijuana... Distribution of narcotics, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance..." Yeah, burglary and assault are on the list as well. But Snopes, examining the veracity of the claim, quotes the Associated Press: "Court records indicate that Gray's arrests were mostly for drug possession/distribution charges and various minor crimes, many of which were not prosecuted."

New York State push for cannabis justice

Posted on April 28th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

New YorkBack in March, Connecticut's Supreme Court, the state's highest, ruled that those convicted of past cannabis possession misdemeanors can have the charges erased from their records because the state decriminalized the herb in 2011. The  unanimous ruling came in the case of Nicholas Menditto, who will now have his 2009 possession conviction expunged from his record. (The Joint Blog, March 17; AP, March 16) Last week, reporter Jon Campbell wrote in New York's Village Voice that activists in the Empire State are hoping for a similar outcome. New York was one of the first states to decriminalize, way back in '77, and the cut-off point for an infraction rather than a misdemeanor is a full ounce (as opposed to a half-ounce under the Connecticut law). But New York pot arrests have ironically continued at the highest rate in the country—especially in the Big Apple, under the aggressive policing since the '90s. The loophole that cops used? Cannabis in public view remains illegal—and suspects are basically forced into pulling out their stashes when stopped by cops and ordered to empty their pockets.

Will Loretta Lynch wind down drug war?

Posted on April 26th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Loretta LynchPresident Obama's nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch, was confirmed by the Senate after a long delay due to Capitol Hill party politicking on April 23. She becomes the first Black woman to head the US Justice Department, and she brings some credentials to the job that will hearten those concerned with social justice. As US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, she prosecuted the NYPD officers who sodomized Abner Louima in a New York police station bathroom with a broken broom handle in 1997. But at her confirmation hearing she appeared to tilt right, telling senators on Jan. 29: "[N]ot only do I not support the legalization of marijuana, it is not the position of the Department of Justice currently to support the legalization. Nor would it be the position should I become confirmed as attorney general." CelebStoner blog ominously notes that she has won support from such intolerant hardliners as New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who called her "a remarkable prosecutor with a clear sense of justice without fear or favor."

DEA chief Michele Leonhart steps down under cloud of scandal

Posted on April 21st, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

DEAUS Drug Enforcement Administration director Michele Leonhart is to step down next month, Attorney General Eric Holder announced April 21. Holder issued requisite praise of Leonhart, stating that she "led this distinguished agency with honor." But the circumstances of her departure are far from honorable. While Holder certainly wasn't so indiscrete as to mention it, Leonhart's resignation follows an internal Justice Department report last month finding that DEA agents attended parties with prostitutes paid for by local drug traffickers in Colombia. Media reports indicate that Leonhart, who has headed the DEA since 2007, has been under mounting pressure to resign since testifying to a congressional oversight committee about the scandal last week. (CBSBBC News)

Remembering Judith Malina, matriarch of Living Theatre

Posted on April 16th, 2015 by Baba Israel and tagged , , , , , , .

Judith MalinaJudith Malina, co-founder of the legendary Living Theatre, a ground-breaking and activist-oriented troupe that helped pioneer the countercultural explosion of the 1960s and still challenges audiences today, died April 10 at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, NJ. She was 88 and still actively involved in the Living Theatre. This remembrance is offered by Baba Israel, a New York-based hip-hop artist and cultural worker whose parents were core members of the Living Theatre.Global Ganja Report

Judge upholds Schedule I classification of cannabis

Posted on April 16th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

THCUS District Judge Kimberly Mueller in Sacramento—who made history by granting the first extended hearings in federal court on the question of cannabis' continued listing under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act—on April 15 closed the hearings by ruling that the plant's Schedule I status is constitutional. "At some point in time," said Judge Mueller in issuing her decision in US v. Schweder et al, "a court may decide this status to be unconstitutional. But this is not the court and not the time." The Obama appointee decided to rule on the merits of the case, disregarding the insistence of federal prosecutors that she dismiss the motion for lack of standing by the defendants. For her standard of review, she applied the "rational basis test" to the defendants' challenge to cannabis' Schedule I status under the Equal Protection Clause. Under that standard, said Judge Mueller, "the statute passes muster. The questions raised by the defense are for Congress to resolve." Defendants say they will appeal to the Ninth Circuit. (The Leaf Online, Courthouse News Service, April 15)

Crown Heights peanut butter connection

Posted on April 2nd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

New York CityWhen Brooklyn neighborhood website CrownHeights.info reported on April 1 that a kosher grocery store in the Jewish enclave had received in the mail 10 bags of cannabis hidden in vacuum-sealed plastic containers of peanut butter—well, we thought it was an April Fool joke. But the website's source was the previous day's New York Post, and it looks pretty legit. The grocery, Kahan's Superette on Kingston Ave., apparently reported the find to the police. "Wrong delivery address results in the seizure of 10 large bags of marijuana wrapped in peanut butter," the 71st Precinct tweeted, along with a photo of the gooey mess. "I have no idea where it came from. It was just dropped off," a worker at the store told the Post. The store sells such fare as kosher chicken, bagels, cream cheese and fresh salmon, according to its Facebook page. Nobody seems to have asked if Kahan’s had ordered a shipment of peanut butter—maybe to make peanut butter macaroons for the upcoming Passover holiday.

Yemen war fuels dope-for-guns trade

Posted on March 29th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Middle EastThe dizzyingly escalating crisis across the Middle East was ratcheted up several degrees last week as Saudi Arabia and its Gulf State allies intervened in Yemen, launching air-strikes against the Shi'ite rebels that have seized much of the country. Saudi troops are amassing on the border and there are fears that the air campaign, dubbed "Operation Decisive Storm," may soon be followed by a ground invasion. Within Yemen, Sunni tribes and militants in al-Qaeda's orbit are also battling the Shi'ite rebels, known as Houthis. (CNN, Al Jazeera, March 29; Yemen Post, March 22)

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