police state

UK drug bill to ban church incense?

Posted on September 28th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

EuropeThe British tabloids are having a field day with this one. The Daily Mail warns that the UK's pending Psychoactive Substances Bill—aimed at closing the loopholes that permit "legal highs"—could outlaw incense and criminalize priests. Under the proposed law, it would become a criminal offense to sell "any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect," with a seven-year prison term. Two church groups, the Association of English Cathedrals and the Churches' Legislation Advisory Service, are urging lawmakers to make a "specific exemption" for incense. In testimony to a parliamentary inquiry, the Association warned: 'Cathedrals regularly make use of incense during worship services, especially celebrations of the Eucharist. Incense has been used for worship purposes for millennia, and by the Christian church since its foundation."

Mexican authorities to block distribution of Spanish cannabis magazine?

Posted on August 28th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

CañamoThe Barcelona-based magazine Cáñamo is the High Times of the Spanish-speaking world, published in Spain for 18 years, and with a Chilean edition for 10 years. But when it launched its first Mexican edition in May, authorities freaked out. The inaugural issue featured a cover story entitled "Pachequeando con Tito de Molotov"—or, "Getting High with Tito of Molotov"—in which Ismael "Tito" Fuentes de Garay, guitarist with the Mexican rap-metal outflit Molotov discusses the pleasures of the herb. This came to the attention of the Quality Commission on Publications and Illustrated Magazines, an agency of Mexico's Secretariat of Governance, which issued a finding that the publication is contrary to the "morals" and "good customs" of the nation. This determination was forwarded to the Prosecutor General of the Republic (PGR) and the Secretariat of Health's Federal Commission for the Prevention of Health Risks (COFEPRIS)—with the recommendation that the magazine be officially declrared "illicit."

Brazil: police implicated in Sao Paulo massacre

Posted on August 17th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

BrazilGunmen killed at least 18 people in outlying districts of Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo, in a series of overnight attacks Aug. 14. Witnesses and video footage in several locations indicated that masked gunmen pulled up in a car before opening fire. In many cases they checked the victims' names before shooting, or asked if they had criminal records. At least six other people were injured in the attacks, in the districts of Osasco and Barueri. Authorities are said to be investigating whether the attacks were a coordinated campaign of revenge by off-duty officers following the deaths of two colleagues in the targeted districts the previous week.  Police in Brazil are responsible for more than 2,000 deaths per year, and rights groups say off-duty officers rarely face prosecution when they in engage in vigilante justice. (Reuters, BBC News, Aug. 15)

Federal court finds drug dog unreliable —but upholds conviction

Posted on August 10th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

In an utterly maddening decision, on July 28 the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago found that a police dog in a drug bust was unreliable in detecting drugs—yet let the conviction in the case stand anyway! Lex, the drug-sniffing pooch of the police force in Bloomington, Ill.,  must have been at the "bottom of his class" at dog-training school, the court stated. The defense presented evidence that Lex signals for drugs 93% of the time, often inaccurately. The court admitted Lex only had a "59.5% field-accuracy rate," which is "not much better than a coin flip." It also agreed that giving the critter treats for each alert—false or not—was a "terrible way to promote" accuracy. But the conviction of Larry Bentley Jr was upheld, on the grounds that contradictory answers to officers' questions and other evidence separately justified the search of his car in a traffic stop, which turned up cocaine.

Amnesty: 'Trigger happy' police kill hundreds in Rio

Posted on August 6th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

BrazilAmnesty International in a report issued Aug. 3 charges that Brazil's military police have been responsible for more than 1,500 deaths in Rio de Janeiro in the last five years, accusinf them of a "shoot first, ask questions later" policy. Amnesty released the findings ahead of the one-year countdown to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The report, "You killed my son: Killings by military police in Rio de Janeiro," reveals that nearly 16% of the total homicides registered in the city in the last five years took place at the hands of on-duty police—1,519 in total. Just in the favela of Acari, in the city's north, Amnesty found evidence of "extrajudicial executions" in at least nine out of 10 killings committed by the military police in 2014. 

Cannabis cultivation decriminalized in Spain?

Posted on July 3rd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

SpainThe new "Citizen Safety Law" that took effect in Spain on July 1 is notoriously draconian, making it illegal to march on public buildings, and imposing prohibitive fines for holding any protest without a permit. It also raises the minimum penalty for public cannabis use or possession from 300 to 600 euros, with the maximum penalty set at a whopping 30,000 euros for "grave infractions." But even this is something of a victory, as conservatives had been pressing to raise the minimum to 1,000 euros. And there may be a more surprising bright side. According to reports on the Medical Cannabis Spain Blog and LaMarihuana.com, language was added to the section of the law dealing with cultivation, saying that it will only be punishable when it is "in visible public places." The reports state that this means cultivation behind closed doors is effectively decriminalized in Spain, as private possession has been for several years.

A drone by any other name...

Posted on May 15th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

Shadow WatchRevolution News notes that the Illinois State Police have been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to use drones—but are refusing to actually call them drones. In a statement released to Sun-Times Media Wire, the state police department admitted that it is intentionally avoiding the word "drone" because "it carries the perception of pre-programmed or automatic flight patterns and random, indiscriminate collection of images and information." The force will add "unmanned aircraft" to its list of tools for the next two years. The state police said they worked with legal professionals and the American Civil Liberties Union to minimize the privacy impact on average citizens, and needed the drones primarily for "investigation of major traffic crashes."

#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."

Who's new

  • Baba Israel
  • Karr Young
  • John Veit
  • YosephLeib
  • Peter Gorman