Will Loretta Lynch wind down drug war?

Posted on April 26th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Loretta LynchPresident Obama's nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch, was confirmed by the Senate after a long delay due to Capitol Hill party politicking on April 23. She becomes the first Black woman to head the US Justice Department, and she brings some credentials to the job that will hearten those concerned with social justice. As US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, she prosecuted the NYPD officers who sodomized Abner Louima in a New York police station bathroom with a broken broom handle in 1997. But at her confirmation hearing she appeared to tilt right, telling senators on Jan. 29: "[N]ot only do I not support the legalization of marijuana, it is not the position of the Department of Justice currently to support the legalization. Nor would it be the position should I become confirmed as attorney general." CelebStoner blog ominously notes that she has won support from such intolerant hardliners as New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who called her "a remarkable prosecutor with a clear sense of justice without fear or favor."

DEA chief Michele Leonhart steps down under cloud of scandal

Posted on April 21st, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

DEAUS Drug Enforcement Administration director Michele Leonhart is to step down next month, Attorney General Eric Holder announced April 21. Holder issued requisite praise of Leonhart, stating that she "led this distinguished agency with honor." But the circumstances of her departure are far from honorable. While Holder certainly wasn't so indiscrete as to mention it, Leonhart's resignation follows an internal Justice Department report last month finding that DEA agents attended parties with prostitutes paid for by local drug traffickers in Colombia. Media reports indicate that Leonhart, who has headed the DEA since 2007, has been under mounting pressure to resign since testifying to a congressional oversight committee about the scandal last week. (CBSBBC News)

New York City Council calls for cannabis legalization

Posted on March 26th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

New York CityThis week, the New York City Council called for the state of New York to pass legislation to tax and regulate cannabis, as well as to close loopholes in the state's decriminalization law that allow arrests for small quantitites to continue. As part of its State Budget and Legislative Agenda for the 2015-2016 legislative session, the Council urged the state legislature to pass both the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA) and the Fairness and Equity Act. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced her support for cannabis legalization in November, but this marks the first time that the issue has been part of the Council's official legislative agenda.

Senate bill to lift federal ban on medical marijuana

Posted on March 12th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

capitolA bipartisan group of US Senators on March 10 announced legislation to end the federal ban on medical marijuana. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act is sponsored by senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) Rand Paul (R-KY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ). If passed, the bill would end the federal restriction on medical marijuana and allow for several comprehensive reforms, including: permission for limited interstate transport, an expansion of access to cannabis for research purposes, and reclassification of marijuana from Schedule I to II. Medical marijuana, and the right of states to determine how to regulate it, has found bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. (Jurist, March 10)

Israel: legalization goes mainstream

Posted on March 9th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastCannabis legalization as a political platform in Israel has traditionally been the domain of the Green Leaf Party, an idealistic, single-issue effort which has yet to gain even one seat in the Knesset. But Israeli news site YNet reported March 3 that Meretz, a traditional party of the center-left, held a confab at the Zionist Organization of America building in Tel Aviv to promote medical marijuana (at least), with more general legalization also discussed. Entertainment was provided by topical hip-hop/funk outfit Hadag Nachash before headlining speakers including Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg and Dr. Rick Doblin of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Yarden Gazit of the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (JIMS) protested that more than 18,000 criminal cases are opened a year for cannabis-related offenses—despite the fact that only 25% of Israel's populace supports criminalization. Urged  Zandberg in her closing remarks: "If you are a leftist, if you support legalization—vote Meretz."

Albania legalization initiative

Posted on March 4th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

AlbaniaBalkan Insight reported Feb. 28 that Koço Kokedhima, an MP with Albania's ruling Socialist Party, has launched a campaign calling for the legal cultivation of cannabis. The country is considered a major supplier for Europe, and last year its police carried out major eradication operations, destroying scores of plantations and arresting dozens. "Albania produces cannabis of high quality, well known in Europe. This could be done under state licenses for the pharmaceutical industry," Kokedhima told the parliament in a discussion on ways to support the country's impoverished rural sector. 

Lebanon legalization push

Posted on February 3rd, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastWalid Jumblatt is a name that was frequently in the news when Lebanon's civil war was raging back in the 1980s. The longtime leader of the Druze ethnicity is still around, now an MP with the Progressive Socialist Party—and has emerged as Lebanon's foremost voice for cannabis legalization. Noting the resilient hashish economy in the Bekaa Valley, Jumblatt has actually been pushing cannabis as a cornerstone of security and economic development in Lebanon, which shows growing signs of being drawn into the Syrian war. In comments Jan. 14 to daily As-Safir, Jumblatt said: "I hold onto my opinion on the necessity of legalizing the cultivation of hashish... It's time to allow hash to be grown and to overturn arrest warrants against people sought for doing so." 

2014: international drug war round-up

earth2014 witnessed considerable fraying of the international Drug War consensus—but the horrific violence that finally sparked this long-overdue reckoning continued to take its grim toll. On the upside, Uruguay regsitered its first cannabis clubs, and Jamaica is now studying a decrim initiative. In a very hopeful sign, regional bodies in the Caribbean and West Africa are following suit with studies of potential decrim or legalization. And signs of the failure of the prohibitionist model kept mounting. For a second consecutive year, opium cultivation in Afghanistan broke all previous records—despite some $7 billion spent by the US to combat Afghan opium over the past decade. Hashish busts at sea—especially the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean—also soared. Saudi Arabia went on a beheading spree, targeting drug convicts (as well as those found guilty of adultery, "sorcery" and other such wackery). ISIS (whose beheadings somehow sparked far greater media outrage) started eradicating the cannabis fileds of northern Syria, after the Syrian civil war had sparked a regional hashish boom, with a profusion of militias needing narco-profits to fund their insurgencies. The same cycle that Afghanistan saw with both hashish and opium when the Taliban was in power before 9-11.

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