capitalism

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.

CBD derivative gets 'orphan drug' status

Posted on November 18th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , .

THCBritish firm GW Pharmaceuticals has won "orphan drug status"—a special category for agents developed to treat rare diseases—from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Epidiolex, a derivative of cannabidiol (CBD), to treat Dravet syndrome, a severe form epilepsy. In Utah, parents who are lobbying to import CBD-rich cannabis strains from Colorado, say they will keep up their campaign. "This changes nothing" in regard to children being able to access CBD, said Jennifer May, mother of 11-year-old Stockton, who suffers from Dravet syndrome. "On the other hand, it does lend credibility to the potential of CBD as a treatment."  Like many Dravet patients, Stockton has tried dozens of pharmaceutical fixes, and run out of options. He can no longer use the toilet and has to be fed from a tube. "Orphan drug" designation qualifies GW for tax credits and exclusive rights to the drug if approved. But FDA approval for Epidiolex could take a year or more. (Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 18)

Will New Amsterdam be the new Amsterdam?

Posted on August 14th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

New York cannabisCannabis is a $1.65 billion industry in New York City, according to a report released Aug. 14 by comptroller and mayoral hopeful John Liu, with the potential to become a $1.7 billion industry if it were made legal in the Big Apple. The report is the first official estimate of the city's cannabis market, and the first study to consider the idea of legalization at the municipal level in the nation's biggest city.

Fox: Mexico could legalize cannabis within five years

Posted on July 25th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

MexicoFormer Mexican president Vicente Fox last week presided over an international conference in his home state of Guanajuato, hosted by his private think-tank Centro Fox and dubbed the US-Mexico Symposium on Legalization and Medical Use of Cannabis. Joining Fox at the confab were ex-Microsoft executive James Shively, who plans to create the first US national marijuana brand, as well as a wide range of activists and academics that included former Mexican health minister Julio Frenk. Asked by Reuters whether Mexico could legalize cannabis by the time current president Enrique Peña Nieto's term ends in 2018, Fox said: "I think it's going to happen much sooner. Once California gets into this, Mexico is going to be obligated to speed up its decision process." (Reuters, July 24; Correo, Guanajuato, Latino Daily News, July 21; Reuters, El Universal, July 20)

Legal battles over Dutch coffee house crackdown

Posted on June 22nd, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

EuropeDutch prosecutors are seeking up to one-month suspended prison terms for owners and staff of cannabis cafes in Maastricht for selling pot to foreigners in defiance of the new law. But meanwhile the Netherlands government was ordered to pay damages to owners of cannabis cafes after a court in The Hague said new measures turning the coffee-houses into members-only clubs were too harsh. The amount the state must pay is still to be determined. (The Age, June 13; BBC News, June 5)

Patient advocates and herbal medicine industry team up to enhance product safety

Posted on January 24th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

medical marijuanaThe Cannabis Committee of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) issued recommendations this week to regulators of dispensaries in California, Colorado, and Massachusetts, and will make similar recommendations in other medical marijuana states over the next days. The committee, in cooperation with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), has over the past year coordinated the development of best practice protocols in several areas, including cultivation; manufacturing, packaging and labeling; laboratory practice; and distribution.

Political economy of Mexico's narco-nightmare

Posted on January 21st, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

As nightmarish violence continues in Mexico, with horrific massacres and chaotic urban warfare right on the USA's southern border, a couple of academics at England’s University of Sheffield provide a readable 250-page primer on why this is happening now, and take a stab at what can be done to address the crisis—other than escalating it with militarization.

Legal cannabis: environmental disaster?

Posted on November 19th, 2012 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

earthWe have noted before that the cannabis industry has a huge carbon footprint—something of a dirty little secret for the legalization movement. This is an especially relevant fact in Colorado, where Amendment 64 specifies that all legal weed must be grown indoors. Roberta Ragni in the Italian eco-journal GreenMe, asks "Marijuana Legalization: What Will It Mean for the Environment?" After quoting triumphant pot activists, Ragni lays on the inconvenient truth:

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