Southern Cone

Uruguay prez signs cannabis legalization bill

Posted on December 26th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Southern ConeUruguayan President José Mujica on Dec. 24 signed into law his plan to oversee the production and sale of cannabis in the Southern Cone country. The Uruguayan Senate passed the measure to legalize production, sale and consumption of the herb earlier this month. The law makes Uruguay the first country to have a system to regulate cannabis production and sale; use of cannabis was already legal in Uruguay. The bill allows individuals over 18 to grow up to six of their own plants per person, creates state-supervised and controlled consumer clubs, and permits consumers to buy up to 40 grams per month from pharmacies. Uruguay's government has four months to draw up regulations for the program, such as how production licenses will be granted. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the UN body overseeing the implementation of international drug treaties, has criticized Uruguay's legislation as being illegal (PDF) under international treaties. (Jurist, AP, Dec. 25)

Brazil: deadly prison riot sets off angry protests

Posted on October 11th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

Southern ConeAt least 13 inmates were killed and some 30 injured in a clash between rival gangs Oct. 10 at Pedrinhas prison in São Luis, in Brazil's northeastern state of Maranhão. Authorities said violence broke out after guards discovered inmates digging an escape tunnel. The inmates fought the attacking guards and started a fire, as members of rival gangs took advantage of the confusion to settle scores. Then, as news of the conflagration broke, relatives of inmates gathered outside the prison, demanding information. When this was not forthcoming, they began to throw stones at the guards, fought back police, took over a roadway, and set several buses on fire.

Uruguay lawmakers vote up cannabis legalization

Posted on August 1st, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Southern ConeUruguay’s lower house July 31 approved a bill to legalize cannabis, by a vote of 50 to 46. The bill now goes to the Senate, where lawmakers have assured President José Mujica they have a majority to approve it. Mujica's administration introduced the bill, and his signature is not in doubt. Laura Blanco, president of Uruguay's Cannabis Studies Association said the bill sent an "encouraging" sign to other Latin American nations.  Under the law, citizens will be allowed to  cultivate cannabis in their homes, limited to six plants per household. They would also be permitted to form cooperatives allowed to grow 99 plants. In addition, private companies can produce under the bill, their harvests to be bought by the government for resale to licensed pharmacies. To buy in pharmacies, citizens must submit their names into a  confidential federal registry, and are limited to buying 40 grams per month. In a move to prevent cannabis tourism, the legislation restricts legal purchases to Uruguayans.

Uruguay unveils plan for state-controlled cannabis sales

Posted on June 21st, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

The administration of Uruguay's President José Mujica announced June 20 plans to establish an unprecedented system of government-controlled legal cannabis sales, saying that a bill will be submitted to Congress to approve the program. Under the plan, the government would maintain a monopoly on legal cannabis sales to registered users who would be allotted a fixed quantity per month. The government would assure standards for quality. Minister of Defense Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro told reporters in Montevideo that the measure aims to undercut criminal networks that currently control the marijuana trade. "We're shifting toward a stricter state control of the distribution and production of this drug," Fernández said. "We think its prohibition is creating more problems to society than the drug itself."  (Notimex, June 21; InfoBaeAP, June 20)

Brazil deploys military forces, pledges to "pacify" Rio's favelas

Posted on November 17th, 2011 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

Hundreds of riot police backed up by 200 navy commandos invaded the Rio de Janeiro favelas of Rocinha, Vidigal and Chacara do Ceu in the wee hours of Nov. 13. The next day, the elite Special Operations Police Battalion (BOPE) said they had uncovered the secret "mansion" of wanted drug lord Antônio Bonfim Lopez AKA "Nem" in Rocinha. "Nem" was reportedly arrested at the scene. The shanty-towns had long been controlled by drug gangs, and were a no-go zone for police. Authorities say they plan to pacify dozens more favelas ahead of the 2014 World Cup. (Noticias R7, Rio de Janeiro, Nov. 17; AFP, Nov. 15; AFP, Nov. 14)

Brazil: Military Police attack pro-cannabis protesters

Posted on May 23rd, 2011 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

Prohibited from holding a "March for Marijuana," cannabis advocates in São Paulo had agreed with police to instead hold a generic protest in defense of freedom of expression. But minutes after the march began May 21, the Military Police attacked the some 1,000 unarmed demonstrators with stun bombs, tear gas and rubber bullets.  Television images showed riot troops charging toward the protesters when they tried to march down the busy Paulista Avenue. By-standers and journalists covering the event as well as protesters were caught up in the violence, reports Último Segundo.

Colombian beauty queen busted on drug charges

Posted on May 26th, 2010 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

Colombian beauty queen Angie Sanclemente Valencia, 31, was arrested in Argentina May 26 on charges of leading a drug trafficking ring. Argentine police had been looking for her for more than five months before they tracked her down in a youth hostel in Buenos Aires. She is accused of persuading young women to smuggle cocaine from Argentina to Europe via Mexico. She denies the charges.

Paraguay paranoid as guerillas re-emerge

Posted on May 11th, 2010 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

A supposed member of the rebel Army of the Paraguayan People (EPP), identifying himself as "Máximo Brizuela," called into radio station Primero de Marzo on May 10 to take responsibility for an attack that left four dead, including a police officer, on April 21 at the department of Concepción. President Fernando Lugo has meanwhile deployed extra police and army troops to the country's north, a major marijuana-producing region. The impoverished South American country has recently emerged as a major cannabis producer—with the government crackdown on cultivation occasioning the predictable rights abuses. (World War 4 Report, May 10)

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