Costa Rica

Empire strikes back against Belize?

Posted on March 7th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

Central America OK, we don't want to get too paranoid here. But last month, after years of studying the matter, the government of Belize took a big step toward cannabis decrim. On Feb. 19, the  cabinet formally handed recommendations made by the Decriminalization of Marijuana Committee, assigned to assess the matter, over to the office of the Attorney General for final review. This means introduction of a decrim bill is almost certainly imminent. Sources say the proposed legislation would allow for persons in possession of 10 grams or less to face a fine or community service. The fine is named as 15 Belizean dollars (US$7.50) per gram. The law would also be retroactive, expunging the records of those convicted in the past for possession within these limits. Former National Security Minister Doug Singh, who has pushed for a more lenient policy, said, "Too many young people have this following them, those who are seeking jobs."

Landmark cannabis case in Costa Rica

Posted on January 20th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

Central AmericaCosta Rica took a step towards becoming the next Latin American country to decriminalize cannabis Jan. 19, when attorney Mario Alberto Cerdas Salazar was cleared of cultivation charges on grounds of individual liberties. Cerdas Salazar was arrested in August at his home in the city of Alajuela in August, after publicly advocating for a personal right to use and cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and gastronomic purposes. He has been held since, charged with "drug trafficking." The Judicial Investigation Organism (OIJ, Costa Rica's answer to the FBI) said they found enough cannabis on the premises to make 5,000 cigarettes. The quantity was also ambiguously put at 170 "plants and leaves of plants." But the OIJ admitted they had no evidence the cannabis was intended for commercial purposes. The judge hearing the case, Carolina Leitón, found: "Yes, marijuana cultivation is illegal; nonetheless, it is not a crime if it is not utilized for sale." 

Costa Rica: the next narco-state?

Posted on December 23rd, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

Central AmericaCosta Rica's authorities announced 17 raids by the elite Drug Control Police across the Caribbean provinces of Limón and  Cahuita as well as locations in the capital San José Dec. 17, that they boast resulted in the dismantling of the most important narco-trafficking operation in the country to date—with ties to Colombia and Jamaica as suppliers of cocaine and cannabis, and Europe as an export destination. Prosecutor General Jorge Chavarria said that among the 12 arrested were two officers of Public Force, the country's national police, and an officer at the Bank of Costa Rica who facilitated laundering of proceeds. The ring was reportedly led by one Rivas Bonilla AKA "Tito" or "Patrón"—who kept ahead of the law for at least three years through tip-offs from his pal on the police force. Chavarría said that the ring was the largest yet run by Costa Ricans, instead of Colombian or Mexican networks operating within the country. "History has changed," Chavarría said. "We now have Costa Rican groups who want to be entrepreneurs in drugs: owners of the drugs, the organization and the routes."

Will OAS summit broach drug decrim?

Posted on June 3rd, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

Central AmericaAs the  Organization of American States (OAS) summit opens under tight security in the historic Guatemalan city of Antigua—some 2,000 army and National Police troops deployed—fighting narco-trafficking is certain to top the agenda. Secretary of State John Kerry will be in attendance, with US Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske—prepared to oppose initiatives to reconsider the "war on drugs," including from Guatemala's otherwise arch-conservative President Otto Pérez Molina. But it remains to be seen if the summit will take up the iconoclastic recommendations of a draft report on drug policy released by the OAS last month. When the ground-breaking report was issued, OAS Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza asserted, "this is not a conclusion but only the beginning of a long-awaited discussion." As the Guatemala summit opened June 3, he reiterated that the report will not be officially adopted by the international body, but that "it will be only a platform for discussion." This equivocation will doubtless be welcome in Washington, given the report's open dissidence from generations of "drug war" dogma.

Latin leaders legitimize legalization

Posted on November 28th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

leafThe leaders of Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Costa Rica issued a joint statement Nov. 12 calling for a review of anti-drug strategies, after the US states of Colorado and Washington voted to legalize cannabis.  Mexican President Felipe Calderón, after a meeting with Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla and Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow, said that it has become necessary to analyze the implications for public policy and health in our nations, and that cannabis legalization by US states is "a paradigm change on the part of those entities in respect to the current international system." The leaders called for the Organization of American States to study the impact of the Colorado and Washington votes, and said the UN General Assembly should hold a special session on the prohibition of drugs by 2015 at the latest. (Al Jazeera, Nov. 13)

Napolitano defends Drug War; Costa Rica breaking ranks?

Posted on March 3rd, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on Feb. 28 defended the US-backed war on the drug cartels, despite the growing violence in Mexico and Central America. On a five-day tour of the region, Napolitano insisted in a joint press conference with Mexican Interior Minister Alejandro Poire that the US and Mexico would maintain "a continuing effort to keep our peoples from becoming addicted to dangerous drugs.... It's a different type of crime and it's a different type of plague, but that's also why it is so important that we act not only bi-nationally, but in a regional way, to go after the supply of illegal narcotics."

US Marines to Costa Rica

Posted on July 13th, 2010 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Costa Rica has granted the US military a six-month window to bring 7,000 Marines, five planes and 46 warships into its territory to help intercept north-bound narcotics. The permission, granted by a 31-8 vote of the Legislative Assembly on July 2, allows the US to use the country's territory through Dec. 31.

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