opiates

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.

Hong Kong: triads crushed at last?

Posted on August 25th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , .

East AsiaAuthorities in Hong Kong are boasting that the city's long-reigning criminal gangs, the notorious Triads, are finally crushed following an operation coordinated with police forces in Macau and mainland China's Guangdong province, in which more than 14,000 were arrested and 2,500 properties raided—including discos, massage parlours and nightclubs. Police confiscated HK$39.3  million (US$5 million) worth of illicit goods, including drugs, contraband cigarettes, pornography and weapons. Leading figures in the powerful Sun Yee On and 14K triads are said to be among the detained. 

Mixed signals from UN on Drug War

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

earthHelen Clark, head of the UN Development Program, speaking ahead of a March 14 presentation of the UNDP's 2013 Human Development Report, offered a surprise critique of the global war on drugs, saying Latin American leaders should develop new policies. "I've been a health minister in my past and there's no doubt that the health position would be to treat the issue of drugs as primarily a health and social issue rather than a criminalized issue," Clark told Reuters. "Once you criminalize, you put very big stakes around. Of course, our world has proceeded on the basis that criminalization is the approach."

Political economy of Mexico's narco-nightmare

Posted on January 21st, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

Drug War MexicoAs nightmarish violence continues in Mexico, with horrific massacres and chaotic urban warfare right on the USA's southern border, a couple of academics at England’s University of Sheffield provide a readable 250-page primer on why this is happening now, and take a stab at what can be done to address the crisis—other than escalating it with militarization.

Blood Ganja

The most enlightened cannabis connoisseurs—those who still have a link back to the values that defined the hippie culture—tend to be conscious consumers when it comes to food or computers or whatnot. They may buy organic tomatoes, boycott Taco Bell to support exploited farm workers in Florida, and petition Apple about the brutal conditions in their Chinese assembly plants. But do they pay as much attention to the source of their preferred smoking herb? 

Is there blood on your ganja?

Crime wars rock Cape Town

Posted on December 5th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

The Cape Flats, a sprawling poor area on the outskirts of Cape Town, has emerged as the epicenter of South Africa's crime crisis, the country's key transshipment point for dagga (cannabis), tik (cystal meth) and heroin. Long-simmering gang wars over control of the traffic exploded into horrific violence this year, leading to political stand-offs over how to respond. Western Cape province has called a special commission of inquiry into police actions in the conflicted township of Khayelitsha following charges that corrupt and aggressive policing has enflamed violence and led to vigilantism. But national Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa says the inquiry is illegal and exceeds provincial powers. In July, a request from West Cape Premier Helen Zille for military troops to patrol the Flats was turned down by President Jacob Zuma. By then, some 25 people, including seven children, had been killed in drug-related violence in the Flats over the past five months. (IOL, Dec. 4; SABC, Nov. 27; The New Age, South Africa, Nov. 14; Times Live, Johannesburg, Nov. 8; AllAfrica, Oct. 4; The Economist, Aug. 11)

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