opiates

Tajikistan eradicates opium —and cannabis?

Posted on March 20th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

TajikistanPolice in Tajikistan on March 13 burned more than 722.3 kilograms of seized drugs, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. The destroyed substances included 43 kilos of heroin and 11.2 kilos of opium. Although the statement did not make it clear, the remainder (and big majority) of the burned hauls was presumably cannabis. The Interior Ministry did say that troops of the Drug Control Agency (AKN)  seized 100 kilograms of hashish at a car stop in Khusheri village. This was the latest and largest of several hashish and herion seizures by the AKN in recent weeks. In one case, police are searching for a suspect who injured an AKN officer with a knife before making his getaway.

Vietnam sentences 30 to death in prison drug trial

Posted on February 10th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

South East AsiaA court in Vietnam's northern province of Quang Ninh sentenced 30 people to death for heroin smuggling last month, in what was called the largest such trial ever held in the country—both in terms of the number of defendants and of death sentences handed down. Dozens of others received prison terms from two years to life. In recognition of the sensitivity of the case, the trial was actually held at the provincial prison rather than a courtroom. Quang Ninh, bordering China, is a transit route between the inland opium-producing Golden Triangle and the South China Sea. (See map.)

Colombia: FARC proposal to protect coca, cannabis growers

Posted on January 16th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

ColombiaAt the peace talks with the Colombian government that just re-convened in Havana after a holiday break, the FARC rebels released a proposal Jan. 14 outlining a plan to decriminalize and "regulate the production of coca, poppies and marijuana." The proposal came in a lengthy document entitled "The National Program of the Substitution of the Illicit Uses of Coca, Poppy, or Marijuana Crops,” described in a press release as a "special chapter of rural and agricultural reform, social-environmental reform, democracy reform, and participatory reform." The guerrilla group, said to largely finance itself through the drug trade, agreed that growers should be encouraged "to voluntarily grow alternative crops"—a reference to the largely ineffectual crop substitution programs the US has long funded in Colombia. But FARC negotiator Pablo Catatumbo rejected the model of prohibition and eradication. "Instead of fighting the production [of illicit substances] it's about regulating it and finding alternatives," he said. "The fundamental basis of this plan lies in its voluntary and collaborative nature, and in the political will on the part of the growers to take alternative paths to achieve humane living and working conditions." Catatumbo also said that the "medicinal, therapeutical and cultural" uses of the substances should be taken into account. 

Guatemala considers legal opium cultivation

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

opiatesGuatemala has emerged as a major opium producer in recent years, and now President Otto Pérez Molina—a conservative who is increasingly breaking with the US-led "drug war" consensus—is considering legalized and regulated cultivation of the poppy as an alternative to eradication. "We started exploring the capacity that we could have for controlled planting," said Pérez Molina. "What that means is that we would know exactly what extensions are being planted, what the production would be and that the sale would also be well controlled, especially for medicinal use." Interior minister Mauricio López added: "There are two paths; one is cultivated substitutes, and the other is the alternative which is controlled cultivation. This is what is already being done in other countries such as India and China, that is to say identifying hectares clearly, seeing how they are grown, carrying out the harvest, taking control of the commercialization and above all making sure this serves mainly the pharmaceutical industry."  

Golden Triangle opium boom

Posted on December 18th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

South East AsiaThe UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in its newly released annual Southeast Asia Opium Survey (PDF) finds that opium production in Burma continued to increase in 2013—up 26% to an estimated 870 metric tons. This is the highest amount since the UN began keeping track in 2002. In 1999, the Burmese regime promised to eradicate opium production by 2014, but production has increased every year since 2006. The UNODC report acknowledges that eradication efforts have failed to address the political and economic factors that drive farmers to grow opium in the first place. With poppy fetching 19 times more than rice, struggling peasants have few other options to make a living.

Afghan opium production hits new record high

Posted on November 17th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

AfghanistanThe latest Afghanistan Opium Survey (PDF), released Nov. 13 by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), finds that the country produced record levels of poppy in 2013. Total production reached 5,500 tons—up by nearly 50% over last year's figure of 3,700. Cultivation amounted to 209,000 hectares (516,000 acres)—a 36% increase over last year. The previous record was 193,000 hectares (477,000 acres) in 2007. And prices dropped by 12%—clearly due to boosted production. Eradication efforts fell by 24%, and the seizure rate lagged behind that of other opium-producing countries.

Albania emerges as top European cannabis hub

Posted on October 10th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

EuropeItalian police say Albania, the impoverished Balkan country just across the Adriatic Sea, is the source for vast quantities of cannabis entering G8 and EU member Italy. In the latest major haul in July, Italian Finance Police intercepted a full metric ton of cannabis from a speedboat along the coast of southern Puglia region. Four crewmen were arrested—two Italian and two Albanian. This came one month after the Finance Police released the results of months of air reconnaissance of Albania's hinterland, undertaken in a joint operation with Albanian police—identifying 500 cannabis plantations, accounting for a combined production of 1,000 metric tons with an estimated retail value of 4.5 billion euros. Over the past 20 years since the fall of its rigidly closed Communist dictatorship, Albania has won the title of "Europe's Afghanistan" for its prodigious cannabis production.

Afghanistan: tensions with Iran over opium smuggling routes

Posted on September 2nd, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

AfghanistanThe Strategy Page reports that on Aug. 23 an anti-Iran demonstration was held in the provincial capital of western Afghanistan's Herat province. Local Afghans accused Iranian diplomats based at the local consulate of bribing officials, and operating as a "criminal gang." Somebody is certainly bribing Afghan police and border officials in the province bordering Iran; Iranian security forces have seized 214 tons of opium and heroin at the Afghan border in the last five months, and made hundreds of arrests. A western opium route linking Afghanistan to global markets through Iran appears to be opening, adding to the traditional southern route through the Khyber Pass to Pakistan and northern route through Central Asia to Russia.

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