Baltimore imbroglio over secret aerial surveillance

Posted on September 5th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Shadow WatchOfficials and civil rights advocates in Baltimore are expressing outrage over revelations that a private company has been conducting secret aerial surveillance on behalf of the city's police department—collecting and storing footage from neighborhoods, with no public oversight. Ohio-based Persistent Surveillance Systems has for months been testing sophisticated new cameras afixed to a small Cessna flying over the city, according to an Aug. 23 report in Bloomberg Businessweek, which was given exclusive access to the testing program. Police the following day confirmed the program to the Baltimore Sun, admitting to having collected some 300 hours of surveillance this year.

'Voluntary' drug testing comes to New Jersey school district

Posted on August 19th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Shadow WatchFrom New Jersey comes the unwelcome news that the Lacey Township Board of Education has voted to approve a program of "voluntary" random drug-testing for middle school students. "I'm a supporter for any intervention to give another reason for kids to say 'no' and that can start at any age, especially with our young teens," district superintendent Craig Wigley told NJ Advance Media after the Aug. 15 vote. Seventh and eighth graders who participate in athletic programs or extracurricular programs will be given the "option" to participate in the testing program, with parental consent. For a first violation, a student would be barred from sports or extracurricular activities for 10 days. With a second violation, it goes up to 45-days, with mandatory attendance of eight counseling sessions. A third strike, of course, means you're out—barred from sports and extracurricular programs permanently. The district already has a similar program in place for high school students.

Legal cannabis for Keystone state?

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

PhillyAmong the cities around the world that held events for the Global Marijuana March on Sunday May 8 was Philadelphia, where hundreds filled the streets, culminating in a rally at City Hall. The march was organized by PhillyNORML, whose Chris Goldstein struck a very optimistic tone in comments to the Philly Voice: "The last two years have seen local politics evolve by leaps and bounds when it comes to marijuana. Politicians see the public rallying to support cannabis reform and that is an important part of how this issue is winning." He even claimed that State Rep. Jordan Harris, who represents the 186th legislative district in Philadelphia, will soon introduce a bill that would legalize cannabis.

Right to film cops at issue in Philly federal case

Posted on March 1st, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Shadow WatchPhilly Voice reports that the Pennsylvania ACLU is planning to appeal following a decision last month by a federal court that a citizen has no First Amendment right to record police activity without a specific, critical reason for doing so. In the Feb. 19 decision, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled in Fields vs. City of Philadelphia that absent "any state purpose of being critical of the government," your freedom of speech is not applicable when recording the activities of police officers.

Delaware governor signs decrim bill into law

Posted on June 20th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

cannabisDelaware's Gov. Jack Markell on June 18 signed into law House Bill 39, decriminalizing possession and use of personal quantities of cannabis. The bill, which was approved by the state senate earlier that day, eliminates criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce. Police may still confiscate the cannabis, however. The penalty for public use is reduced to a $100 civil fine. Selling will remain a criminal offense. Prior to the new legislation, simple possession was a misdemeanor with penalties of up to six months in prison and as a $1,150 fine. A statement from the governor's office on the new law said: "The governor remains committed to reducing the number of people entering the criminal justice system and refocusing resources where they are needed most and House Bill 39 supports these efforts." The law will take effect in six months. (Jurist, June 20)

#BlackLivesMatter and the cannabis stigma

Posted on May 4th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

BlackLivesMatterHere we go again. As with Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, conservative pundits are now exploiting the cannabis stigma to tarnish the reputation of Freddie Gray, the young African American man whose death at the hands of the Baltimore police last month led to an uprising in the city, a new national wave of #BlackLivesMatter protests, and finally charges against six officers. Daily Caller gloats in a headline: "Freddie Gray Had A Long Rap Sheet"... But take a look at the provided list of charges: "Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance... Possession of narcotics with intent to distribute... Possession of marijuana... Distribution of narcotics, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance..." Yeah, burglary and assault are on the list as well. But Snopes, examining the veracity of the claim, quotes the Associated Press: "Court records indicate that Gray's arrests were mostly for drug possession/distribution charges and various minor crimes, many of which were not prosecuted."

UN agency scolds US states over legalization —again

Posted on November 13th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

cannabisFollowing the passage of cannabis legalization measures in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia on election day, the chief of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on Nov. 12 issued his requisite scolding. UNODC executive director Yury Fedotov told reporters, "I don't see how [the new laws] can be compatible with existing conventions." He added that he plans to address the issue with the US State Department and other UN agencies. He admitted that the legalization measures are part of a global trend that the UNODC is monitoring. (Jurist, Reuters, Nov. 12)

Electoral advances in DC, Oregon, Guam...

leafIn the Nov. 4 elections, voters in Washington DC approved Initiative 71, a legalization measure allowing residents to grow up to six plants at home and possess up to two ounces. The victory portends a showdown with Congress, as the Republicans will now control both houses. Oregon approved Measure 91, a legalization measure giving regulatory control to the state liquor control agency and allowing Oregon citizens to grow up to four plants. We continue to await word on a legalization measure in Alaska. A medical marijuana measure in Florida was defeated. Guam became the first US territory to pass a medical marijuana measure. (Reuters, NPRSmell The Truth)

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