LA marijuana farmer's market: scene report

Posted on July 17th, 2014 by John Veit and tagged , , , , , , .

Los Angeles' first-ever marijuana farmers market was ordered closed by an LA Superior Court judge July 15 after City Attorney Mike Feuer asked for a restraining order against the California Heritage Market. Over the weekend of July 4, the California Heritage Market, a marijuana collective, or dispensary as it is known to the "compassionate care" crowd, opened a warehouse for cannabis cultivators to peddle their products in an open-air atmosphere. Thousands waited for hours to wade through thick crowds looking for bargains among the 60 or so booths selling dried marijuana flowers, hash, oils, and creams. One bubbly vendor told the cameras that he "couldn't believe how high the demand was."

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.

Victory for hemp in Kentucky

Posted on June 6th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

leafUniversity of Kentucky agronomy researchers on May 27 planted a small hemp plot at Spindletop Research Farm outside Lexington—marking a victory in the state's showdown with the Drug Enforcement Administration. The seeds used were part of a shipment from Italy that was only released after Kentucky's Agriculture Department filed suit against the federal government, naming the Justice Department, DEA and US Customs and Border Protection. The breakthrough came after attorneys for the state and federal government met twice with a federal judge in Louisville, the DEA agreeing to issue a permit for release of the shipment—which Kentucky authorities said was not legally needed. Kentucky attorneys argued that the recent US Farm Bill allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp pilot projects for research in states that permit hemp cutlivation. Several more test crops were planted at other sites around the state in the following days. (ABC, Lexington Herald-Leader, May 27; AP, May 14)

Feds block Kentucky hemp seed shipment

Posted on May 13th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

leafThe Louisville Courier-Journal reports May 9 that a 250-pound shipment of hemp seed is being held up by US Customs and Border Protection at the city's airport—despite the fact the seeds had been ordered by Kentucky's state government for pilot projects that are allowed under the federal Farm Bill that Obama signed into law in February.  If the seed isn’t released and planted by July, some of the projects could be significantly limited or delayed entirely, said Holly VonLuehrte, spokesperson for Kentucky agriculture commissioner James Comer. She told the newspaper that the state Agriculture Department may go to court to have the seeds released in time for this year’s growing season.

Medical marijuana advocates welcome banking policy change

Posted on February 14th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Shadow WatchMedical marijuana advocates are applauding a new memorandum (PDF) issued Feb. 14 by the US departments of Treasury and Justice giving long-awaited guidance to financial institutions to provide services to cannabis-related businesses in states where such commerce is legal. The memo "clarifies customer due diligence expectations and reporting requirements for financial institutions seeking to provide services to marijuana businesses," said a press release issued by the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The memo also includes clarity for credit card service companies, such as VISA and MasterCard, whose services for cannabis-related businesses had also been suspended for years.

Congress calls on Obama to reclassify cannabis

Posted on February 13th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

medical marijuanaEighteen members of Congress joined together Feb. 12 in calling on President Barack Obama to use his authority to reclassify cannabis from its current position as a dangerous drug with no medical value, alongside heroin and LSD. The letter (PDF) says that cannabis' current status "makes no sense," and requests that Obama "instruct Attorney General Holder to delist or classify marijuana in a more appropriate way." The Congressional letter comes just days after Obama told The New Yorker magazine that marijuana was less dangerous than alcohol.

Uruguay to releive Israel's cannabis drought?

Posted on February 4th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

Middle EastUruguay is still developing its nascent cannabis economy following the Christmas Eve signing of the new legalization law, but its leaders have already broached international exports. Diego Cánepa, media spokesman for President José Mujica, said that while development of the domestic market is the priority, representatives from countries including Israel, Canada and Chile have contacted Uruguay to inquire on importing prospects.  "It was not the law’s intention to regulate international trade of marijuana, but Uruguay is open and enthusiastic at the possibility," said Cánepa to Montevideo newspaper La Red 21 in comments picked up by International Business Times. Several private companies have even expressed interest in opening cannabis laboratories in Uruguay, he said. "It would be a challenge, if labs were to open installations in Uruguay," admitted Cánepa. "It goes beyond what the law previewed, but it would turn Uruguay into a biotechnology center. That is a huge step forward."

Blood avocados: Michoacán cartels co-opt ag-biz

Posted on January 22nd, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

MexicoMexico's violence-torn state of Michoacán produces millions of kilos each year of its famous specialty crop, highly prized in US markets... Yes, avocados. Michoacán accounts for 72% of total Mexican production of this rich, green fruit, and over 80% of the state's output is exported to the United States. The trade amounts to nearly a billion dollars a year—even ahead of the state's notorious (and prohibition-inflated) marijuana. But now the two industries are experiencing a grim synergy, as narco lords acquire avocado plantations to launder money, facilitate smuggling and maintain a cover of "legitimate" income. According to a recent exposé in Mexico's Vanguardia newspaper, the Knights Templar cartel has in recent years been running an extortion racket on avocado farmers, seizing their lands if they can't pay up (on pain of family members being abducted and threatened with death), building a "legal" agrarian empire in the state. The local agribusiness association, with the clunky name of the Michoacán State Committee on Vegetable Health, has been co-opted by the Templarios through threats and bribes, according to the report.

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