Planet Watch

Drug war orthodoxy prevails at UN confab —despite dissent

Posted on April 22nd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

earthThe UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem closed in New York on April 21—formally adopting a document (PDF) with no actual debate in the General Assembly. The document had actually been prepared out by a select coterie of diplomats in Vienna weeks before the UNGASS even opened. There were some small improvements over the last UNGASS document in 1998, which hubristically called for a "drug-free world" within 10 years. The new document does not repeat this language, and does for the first time mention "human rights." But, as the Talking Drugs blog notes, the new document continues to use the words "use" and "abuse" as synonymous.

Medical experts press UN on decrim

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

earthA group of 22 medical experts convened by Johns Hopkins University and The Lancet, Britain's foremost medical journal, on March 24 issued a call for the decriminalization of all non-violent drug use and possession, flatly calling the international war on drugs a failure. The paper by the Johns Hopkins-Lancet Commission on Public Health and International Drug Policy (PDF) calls on the world's governments to "move gradually toward regulated drug markets and apply the scientific method to their assessment." Dr. Chris Beyrer, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the senior author of the report, told the CBC: "We've had three decades of the war on drugs, we've had decades of zero-tolerance policy. It has had no measurable impact on supply or use, and so as a policy to control substance use it has arguably failed. It has evidently failed."

THC from outer space? Um, no.

Posted on February 5th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

earth There conitnues to be no end to false Internet rumors concerning our favorite herb. The most recent, currently being widely circulated on Facebook, claims that NASA-affiliated scientists at the University of Hawaii discovered "trace amounts of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on a meteorite found in the Nevada desert in 2010." One of the scientists (conveniently anonymous) is quoted: "These findings will have a profound impact on the science of astrobiology as a whole. If psychoactive elements are found outside of this planet's atmosphere, what does it say about the rest of the universe? If these chemical substances, that change brain functions and result in alterations in perception, mood, or consciousness in mammals as well as humans, find their origin in outer space, what role then has cometary impacts played on the human species? Or on life on the planet as whole? This discovery ultimately leaves us with more questions than answers. It also gives a whole new meaning to the term getting high." D'oh!

California Indian rez raids net 50,000 plants

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

CaliforniaCalifornia's Eureka Times-Standard reported July 27 that a two-week multi-agency operation eradicated some 55,000 cannabis plants on and around the Yurok Indian reservation. The Yurok Tribe carried out similar raids last year, eradicating 15,000 plants, and intends to go on doing so every summer until growers leave the area, Yurok vice-chair Susan Masten said.  "We're not going to quit until there are zero plants growing on the reservation," she told the Times-Standard. Authorities also seized 1,000 pounds of processed cannabis, made seven arrests, served 30 search warrants, discovered one butane hash oil lab, and allegedly found (unnamed) evidence indicating the possibility of Mexican cartel involvement in some of the grows. Along with tribal police, the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, National Guard, and California Department of Forestry participated in "Operation Yurok."

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.

Big Cannabusiness: Reconciling the Recreational Boom and the Medical Marketplace

CannabusinessOn New Year’s Day, as retail sales of cannabis went legal in Colorado, the state's dispensaries registered well over $1 million in sales. Despite cold and wet weather, most of the 36 shops that opened that day reported long lines, with some customers waiting outdoors for hours. By the end of the first week, by which time another dozen retail outlets had opened, the figure was a whopping $5 million. More than 100 dispensaries in the Centennial State have now received licenses for retail cannabis sales and over 500 are eligible to apply. More are applying every day.

"A new industry is developing in a nascent state in Colorado," says Rachel Gillette, director of the Colorado chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). "We're not just talking about retail sales, but a lot of other types of business associated with it—construction companies, HVAC contractors, nutrient companies, lighting and equipment sales, packaging, printers, labeling, marketing materials, websites, marijuana tourism, attorneys, payroll companies… This could represent a lot of jobs."

Northern California grow ops named as threat to salmon

Posted on October 21st, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

CaliforniaA Sept. 30 Associated Press story that got wide play in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest marked another concern about the ecological impacts of outdoor cannabis grows in the Emerald Traingle. The NOAA Fisheries Service in its new coho salmon recovery plan for the Northern California and Southern Oregon region finds that water use by the marijuana industry further threatens salmon already in danger of extinction. The plan calls for determining and decreasing the amount of water that growers illegally withdraw from creeks where young fish struggle to survive. Other threats from the unregulated industry include clear-cutting to make way for grows, punching roads that send sediment into streams, and use of fertilizer and pesticides that poison waters. Coho salmon have been listed as a threatened species since 1997, due to loss of habitat from logging, agriculture, urban development and dams, as well as overfishing—issues also addressed in the recovery plan. The highlighting of cannabis stems from a California Department of Fish and Wildlife study that said growers suck millions of gallons of water from salmon streams.

Japanese Buddhists hold world peace ceremony in Cuzco

Posted on October 14th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

CuzcoThe Japanese Buddhist community Shinnyo-en on Sept. 14 joined with Quechua elders and shamans for a "Prayer for World Peace" at Saksaywaman, the Inca archeaological site just outside Cuzco, Peru. Saksaywaman is a walled complex on the northern outskirts of the city of Cuzco, the former capital of the Inca Empire and today a UNESCO World Heritage site. The event included both traditional Quechua dance ritual and a special fire ceremony officiated by Her Holiness Shinso Ito, leader of Shinnyo-en and daughter of the late Shinjo Ito, who founded Shinnyo-en at Kyoto's ancient Daigoji monastery in 1943. Shinnyo-en is part of the esoteric Shingon Buddhist tradition, which dates to the 9th century CE. (Shinyo-En, Sept. 14; Cusco en Positivo, Sept. 11)

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