Europe

Calabria connection broken in NYC-Italy cocaine sting?

Posted on February 11th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

ItalyA 15-count indictment was unsealed Feb. 11 in a Brooklyn federal court, charging seven defendants with narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and firearms offenses based on what an FBI press release calls their participation in a "transnational heroin and cocaine trafficking conspiracy involving the ‘Ndrangheta, one of Italy's most powerful organized crime syndicates." Italy's Polizia di Stato simultaneously announced the arrest of another 17 in the southern province of Reggio di Calabria by troops of the elite Central Anti-Crime Directorate. The coordinated international operation for two years monitored narco-trafficking networks between Latin America, Italy, Canada and the US. The Italian hub of the ring was identified as the port of Gioia Tauro in Reggio di Calabria. 

Mystery illness strikes Albanian cannabis harvesters

Posted on November 2nd, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

EuropeOK, no pun intended, but this one doesn't pass the smell test. Reuters reports all too credulously Nov. 1 that doctors in Albania say hundreds of people have fallen ill from harvesting cannabis. The hospital in the southern city of Gjirokaster said some 700 have sought treatment since June for the effects of planting, harvesting, pressing and packing the crop. "In the last two months about seven to eight people arrive in the emergency ward each day and many more have come earlier with disorders from hashish," Gjirokaster doctor Hysni Lluka told local Top Channel TV.  Lluka said women and teenagers, who account for some 40% of those working in the notorious cannabis district of Lazarat, had sought help for vomiting, stomach pain, irregular heart beats and high blood pressure. One patient reportedly arrived "in a critical state." Uninitiated readers are left with the clear impression that harvesters were suffering from severe cannabis intoxication.

Swiss decrim law takes effect

Posted on October 7th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

EuropeA cannabis decriminalization law took effect in Switzerland Oct. 1. From the start of this month, possession of up to 10 grams is punishable only by a fine of 100 Swiss Francs (approximately $110) for those over the age of 18. The new law is an effort to unify what had been a patchwork of policies that varied by locality. The measure is expected to save money by cutting back on the 30,000 cannabis-related cases that make their way to the courts each year.

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)

Triads in Éire?

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

IrelandThe Garda Síochána, Ireland's national police force, say they broke up a network of drug gangs that were collaborating with Hong Kong-based Triad syndicates in a series of indoor cannabis grow operations that produced much of the island's supply. The Garda National Drugs Unit raided 236 premises and arrested 54 foreigners as part of the investigation codenamed Operation Wireless. Police say 4,200 cannabis plants were seized in Dublin, Meath, Wexford and Cork. Many of those arrested were said to be affiliated with the Wo Shing Wo, one of Hong Kong's most powerful Triads, with globe-spanning operations in drug trafficking, human trafficking, prostitution and gambling. (Dublin Herald, Nov. 21)

Netherlands: farewell to skunk

Posted on November 22nd, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

EuropeHolland is to ban the sale of high-potency "skunk" cannabis strains in its coffee shops, and is considering whether to classify skunk as a Class A drug with heroin and cocaine. Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten informed the Dutch parliament of the new policy, and asked for the law to be changed "quickly." He said a government study had found that cannabis containing more than 15% THC is so dangerous that it should be reclassed. "Hard drugs have no place in the coffee shops and in the future they will only be able to offer cannabis with a THC level of below 15%," he told MPs. (Daily Telegraph, South Africa, Nov. 22; The Telegraph, UK, Nov. 20)

Dutch court turns down challenge to new law banning "pot tourism"

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

EuropeA Dutch court on April 27 upheld a law that will prevent foreigners from buying cannabis in coffee shops, spelling an end to decades of "pot tourism" in the Netherlands. The decision means coffee shops in three southern provinces must stop selling cannabis to foreigners on May 1, when the law takes effect. A so-called "weed pass" is allowed for Dutch citizens and permanent residents. Coffee shops in the southern provinces of Zeeland, North Brabant and Limburg bordering Belgium (see map) will become members-only clubs, allowed to issue up to 2,000 membership cards—known as "weed passes"—to residents over the age of 18.The plan will go nationwide in January 2013.

Spanish village declares right to grow cannabis

Posted on April 11th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

RasqueraBy a popular vote, the Spanish village of Rasquera on April 11 adopted a plan to rent out a field for growing cannabis in an urgent bid to create jobs and raise money to pay off its debts. Rasquera's village council approved the plan to rent seven hectares of municipal land to the Barcelona Personal Use Cannabis Association (ABCDA) in a 4-3 vote Feb. 29. A total of 804 residents were eligible to vote in the referendum, which posed the question: "Do you agree with the anti-crisis plan approved by the Rasquera town hall on February 29?" The approval—with 308 votes for, and 239 against—was hailed by Mayor Bernat Pellisa as a "magnificent result."

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