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Rio de Janeiro to get pro-legalization mayor?

Posted on October 11th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

BrazilLeft-wing populist candidate Marcelo Freixo made it past the first round in the race for mayor of Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 2, and now goes on to face an ultra-conservative rival in a run-off at the end of the month. In recent days, drug legalization has emerged as a key issue in the race. Freixo, of the Socialism and Freedom Party (POSL), is currently chair of the Human Rights Defense Commission of Rio de Janiero state's Legislative Assembly. He is now running against evangelical senator Marcelo Crivella of the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB) for the mayoralty. But another right-wing contender bounced out in the first round, Flávio Bolsonaro of the Social Christian Party (PSC), has thrown his support to Crivella—and is attempting to use the drug stigma against Freixo, exploiting his call for legalization as a means to de-escalate Rio's violent gang wars.

Cannabis angle emerges in Eric Garner case

Posted on October 4th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

New York CityThe case of Eric Garner—the Staten Island man killed in a police chokehold in July 2014, helping to galvanize the Black Lives Matter movement—continues to make headlines in New York City. In the latest development, reported in the Daily News Oct. 3, Ramsey Orta, the man who shot video footage of Garner's final moments, was sentenced to four years in prison on drug charges. The reading of the sentence was apparently a dramtic moment. As officers placed Orta in handcuffs, protesters stood up in the courtroom, holding their fists in the air and chanting, "No justice, no peace! Fuck these racist police!"

Cannabis emerges as factor in Charlotte case

Posted on September 26th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

BlackLivesMatterThe police slaying of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, NC, on  Sept. 20 set off days of angry protests and riots, ultimately resulting in a midnight curfew and mobilization of the National Guard to the city's streets. Protests stayed peaceful the night of Sept. 24, although a group of clergy and demonstrators defied the curfew to hold a prayer vigil outside the Charrlotte-Mecklenburg police headquarters, ABC reported. The curfew was finally lifted the next night, but the city remains tense. Police have just released body and dahsboard video footage of the fatal incident.

Cannabis stigma used against ex-POW

Posted on June 22nd, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Bowe BergdahlFew people have had a more precipitous fall from glory to villainy than Bowe Bergdahl, the US solider held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan from June 2009 until he was released in exchange for five Guantánamo detainees in a deal brokered by President Obama in May 2014. He received a hero's welcome back in hometown Hailey, Idaho, which was festooned with yellow ribbons. Then the Republicans got their marching orders: the deal was to be portrayed as an Obama capitulation to the Taliban—and suddenly the former patriotic hero became a hot potato. In no time, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly was charging that "he may have even collaborated with the enemy." The New York Times in an editorial last year, "The Rush to Demonize Sgt. Bergdahl," noted that Republican lawmakers went so far as to delete tweets and website statements welcoming him home after the Bergdahl-bashing party line congealed. By March of this year, when the Army actually brought charges against him, right-wing NewsMax was taunting that Bergdahl is a "traitor" and "deserter" who deserves "death."

#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."

Cannabis stigma exploited in Ferguson case —of course

Posted on October 23rd, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

MissouriOK, remember how George Zimmerman's legal team in the Trayvon Martin case attempted to introduce as evidence that the youth's autopsy had shown trace amounts of THC in his bloodstream—a blatant play at exploiting the irrational cannabis stigma? Well... here we go again. This time it concerns Michael Brown, the 18-year-old African American shot by police on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo., sparking a local intifada. A copy of Brown's autopsy was leaked to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, which offers the following headline: "Official autopsy shows Michael Brown had close-range wound to his hand, marijuana in system." Other papers that have picked up the story have also headlined the absolutely irrelevant cannabis claim—for instance, New York's Daily News, which opted for "Michael Brown autopsy, officer's account indicate teen went for Ferguson cop's gun, had marijuana in his system: report." 

George Zimmerman acquitted

Posted on July 14th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

Evidence of Trayvon Martin's marijuana use was allowed by the judge, but not submitted in the George Zimmerman murder trial, which wrapped up this week in Florida with a not guilty verdict. As a result, when the defense rested its case on July 11, jurors did not hear about the trace amounts of THC that were uncovered in Martin’s autopsy. The limited value of the evidence likely played a part in the defense team's decision. The THC level (around 1.5 nanograms, according to the medical examiner) almost certainly indicates that any marijuana use by Martin didn't take place on the evening that he was shot by Zimmerman and probably wasn’t even recent.

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