Europe

Prosecution of medical user sparks debate in Sweden

Posted on March 31st, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

EuropeThe trial of a paralyzed man who was prosecuted by Swedish authorities for self-medicating with cannabis has sparked debate over legalization in the Scandinavian nation, according to a March 27 report in Sweden's English-language The Local. Andreas Thörn, 37, who broke his neck in a motorcycle accident in 1994, used cannabis for relief from neuropathic pain as well as anxiety and depression. He was initially acquitted in August 2015 after successfully using a medical defense. Thörn said he had tried numerous pharmaceuticals which did not help, and had run out of legal options. Claes Hultling, spinal injury specialist at the Karolinska Institute, testified that studies indicate barely a fifth of spinal cord patients can be treated with the drugs available today.

Cocaine gang wars behind Dublin murder wave

Posted on February 9th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

IrelandIt started when gunmen disguised as a police SWAT team opened fire with assault rifles on boxing fans gathered for weigh-in ceremonies at Dublin's Regency Hotel Feb. 5, killing one man and wounding two others. The fatality was a young man named David Byrne. Escaping injury was the star of the show, Jamie Kavanagh, who was scheduled to contest the WBO European lightweight title the following night. The Continuity IRA claimed responsibility for the hit, saying it planned to carry out further attacks "on drug dealers and criminals." The statement blamed Byrine for the assassination of a Real IRA militant in 2012. But days later, CIRA released a new statement, denying involvement. The confusion could be due to factionalism in the Irish Republican movement. Or did gang hitmen issue the first statement, hoping to scapegoat CIRA for the hit? In any case, the Saturday night fight was to have been Kavanagh's first in Dublin since the gangland killings of his father, Gerard, and uncle Paul—both convicted as drug traffickers and lieutenants of Ireland's reigning cocaine kingpin, Christy Kinahan. Gerard was gunned down in an Irish bar in Spain's Costa del Sol in September 2014. Paul was shot to death in his parked car in Dublin in March 2015.

Italy decriminalizes medical marijuana cultivation —for some

Posted on January 28th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

ItalyItaly took a step towards relaxing its marijuana policy Jan. 15, when the Council of Ministers approved a measure that removes criminal penalties for researchers who violate terms of their cultivation license, making it punishable only by a light fine. Justice Minister Andrea Orlando was quick to emphasize: "This does not decriminalize those growing weed on their terrace." The Italian military maintains a monopoly on cultivation for medical users, while only a handful of private firms have licenses to cultivate for research purposes. Those caught growing their own without a license still face up to a year in prison and a €4 million fine. But support is growing in parliament for a general decriminalization or even legalization that would extend to personal cultivation. Last July, over 200 lawmakers agreed to provisional text for a legalization bill.

Spanish police can't break Moroccan connection

Posted on January 28th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

SpainOperation TELOS, an effort by Spain's Guardia Civil to halt the flow of Moroccan hashish into the Iberian peninsula, is now in its thrid year—but ongoing busts only testify to the ingenuity and resources of the smugglers. On Jan. 13, the Guardia announced that they'd broken up a ring that brought the stuff into Spain's southern province of Cadiz using a fleet of pleasure boats with false bottoms, arresting 17 people and seizing five of the boats along with 4.5 ton of hash. The arrests were made in a series of raids over the past months. The nationality of those arrested was not specified. 

Cannabis busts continue in 'marijuana-free' Albania

Posted on November 25th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

AlbaniaTrying to live down its reputation as Europe's top pot producer, Albania two months ago officially declared itself "marijuana-free," with Interior Minister Saimir Tahiri boasting that 99.2% of cannabis plants seen on aerial maps had been destroyed. That made for a total of 690,000 plants covering 44 hectares (109 acres), Tahiri said. After a series of paramilitary-style raids on the fertile valley towns where cannabis cultivation had become the economic mainstay, the remaining growers have reportedly been pushed up into inaccessible mountain areas. (SkyNews, Sept. 16)

Crackdown on Portugal hashish connection

Posted on November 24th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

EuropePortugal's Public Security Police (PSP) announced Nov. 19 the seizure of 128,000 "individual doses" of hashish in a Lisbon raid, which also saw one arrest. The operation coincided with Spanish police seizing 1.5 tons of hashish in a joint cross-border maritime raid. Portugal's National Republican Guard (GNR) seized the boat at the fishing village of Isla Cristina after it was intercepted and boarded by the Spanish Coast Guard off Andalusia. It was apparently bound for Portugal when it was intercepted. (Portugal News)

Cannabis cultivation decriminalized in Spain?

Posted on July 3rd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

SpainThe new "Citizen Safety Law" that took effect in Spain on July 1 is notoriously draconian, making it illegal to march on public buildings, and imposing prohibitive fines for holding any protest without a permit. It also raises the minimum penalty for public cannabis use or possession from 300 to 600 euros, with the maximum penalty set at a whopping 30,000 euros for "grave infractions." But even this is something of a victory, as conservatives had been pressing to raise the minimum to 1,000 euros. And there may be a more surprising bright side. According to reports on the Medical Cannabis Spain Blog and LaMarihuana.com, language was added to the section of the law dealing with cultivation, saying that it will only be punishable when it is "in visible public places." The reports state that this means cultivation behind closed doors is effectively decriminalized in Spain, as private possession has been for several years.

Another hashish mega-haul in Mediterranean

Posted on July 3rd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

EuropeSpain's Guardia Civil on July 1 announced the seizure nearly 16 tons of hashish from a vessel intercepted 45 nautical miles south of Malaga. The crew of nine were all arrested—six Syrian and three Indian nationals. The 85-meter vessel, the Just Reema, was sailing towards the eastern Mediterranean under a Congolese flag when it was boarded by the Guardia in a joint operation with French and Italian police forces dubbed "Urca," coordinated through Europol. When the vessel was first searched at sea, police found only a cargo of about 1,500 tons of salt. However, once it was brought into port at Malaga for a more thorough inspection, agents discovered that the craft had a double bottom that hid 15.7 tons of hashish. Europol estimates the value of the haul at about 24 million euros ($ 26.5 million), if sold on the Spanish market. According to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), over the past two and a half years European police forces in the Mediterranean have seized 22 ships carrying up to 30 tons of hashish each.

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