Shadow Watch

Cops to get 'potalyzers' for roadside marijuana tests

Posted on September 12th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Shadow WatchResearchers at Stanford University have developed a "potalyzer"—a device that can detect human THC levels, so cops can determine if a motorist is too impaired to drive. The hand-held device uses sophisticated bio-sensors to detect THC molecules in saliva. Police officers will supposedly be able collect a spit sample with a cotton swab and read the results on a smartphone or laptop in just three minutes.

North Dakota to get armed police drones

Posted on September 9th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Shadow WatchNational Public Radio's The Two-Way blog reports that North Dakota police forces are about to get the nation's first weaponized drones, following passage of a bill allowing them earlier this year. Ironically, this is coming about in spite of the legislation's main sponsor, Republican state Rep. Rick Becker. While the law limits the type of weapons permitted to those in the "less than lethal" category—tear-gas, rubber bullets, beanbags, pepper spray and Tasers—the original bill would have entirely barred weapons from police drones. According to The Daily Beast, Becker told a hearing in March: "In my opinion there should be a nice, red line: Drones should not be weaponized. Period."

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.

WikiLeaks reveals: alcohol industry promotes Congressional concern for cannabis

Posted on August 2nd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

Shadow WatchIs the alcohol industry spending money to get members of Congress to pay attention to the problem of "marijuana-impaired driving"? That's the case made on the cannabis industry website, where a blogger seems to have assiduously searched the famous WikiLeaks dump of DNC e-mails for any reference to our favorite herb. What they found was in the May 24, 2016 edition of Huddle, a daily e-newsletter for Capitol Hill insiders produced by the Politico website. That issue included a paid advertisement from the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA), which read in part:

Microsoft moves into cannabis sector

Posted on June 17th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Shadow WatchIn a sure sign of changing times, Microsoft just broke what the New York Times calls the "corporate taboo" on pot this week, announcing a partnership to offer software tracking cannabis from "seed to sale."  A new product in Microsoft's cloud computing business, the software will help states that have legalized medical or recreational use to monitor sales. Microsoft's partner is KIND Financial of Los Angeles, a leader in technology for cannabis compliance. The partnership, KIND Government Solutions, will market Agrisoft Seed to Sale. A company press release said the product "closes the loop between marijuana-related businesses, regulatory agencies, and financial institutions."

Obama signs draconian new drug law

Posted on May 20th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Shadow WatchTo little fanfare, President Barack Obama on May 16 signed into law the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act—further extending the global reach of US narcotics enforcement. The law criminalizes manufacture of drugs anywhere in the world if the producers "intend, know, or have probable cause to believe" the substances will be illegally imported into the United States. The language has been attacked as overbroad, potentially applying to any link of the production chain—down to lowly peasant growers of cannabis, coca leaf or opium.

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!

Internet rumor besmirches medical marijuana

Posted on January 16th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Shadow WatchThere is no end to false Internet rumors concerning our favorite herb, and the latest was just called out by those dogged rumor-busters at Snopes. It seems that Britain's Sky News of Jan. 13 reported on a clinical trial of an experimental drug in France that went horribly wrong, leaving one brain-dead and another three with what could be permanent brain damage. A total of 90 were given then new painkiller compound manufactured by the Portuguese pharma firm BIAL in a test overseen by UK-based Biotrial. The original Sky News account (as quoted by Snopes) refered to the compound as "cannabis-based." Currently, it only says that French Health Minister Marisol Touraine "denied reports the drug was based on the compound found in cannabis." But it got around before the text was changed, popping up on e-mail lists and social media.

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