United States

Narco wars drive migrant kids to US borders

Posted on June 20th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

Central AmericaUS authorities report a record flood of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border, a wave that has been escalating since 2011. About 52,000 have arrived since October, about 112% more than the entire prior year, Alejandro Mayorkas, deputy secretary of the Homeland Security Department, said June 20 in a conference call with reporters. Up to 90,000 are expected to come in 2014, according to the White House—more than twice as many as last year, and three times as many as in 2012. President Barack Obama this month directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to address the "urgent humanitarian situation," and asked Congress for funding. Courts and social-service agencies have been overwhelmed, and guidelines on processing and detention thrown into disarray, Bloomberg reports. "It's been a humanitarian crisis since long before Obama called it that," said Kimi Jackson, director of the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project, which aids children in immigration court.  

Federal court: warrant needed for cell-phone tracking

Posted on June 16th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Shadow WatchIn what could turn out to be a landmark case, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta ruled June 11 that police must obtain a warrant to get a person's cell phone location history from the service provider. Police conducting a robbery investigation in Miami had obtained the location histories of four suspects after getting an order from a federal judge. But the standard for getting a so-called "D-order" is that it be "relevant and material" to an investigation—lower than the "probable cause" standard required for a warrant under the Fourth Amendment. The court found "that cell site location information is within the subscriber's reasonable expectation of privacy. The obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation." Nathan Freed Wessler, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who helped argue the case, hailed the ruling in United States v. Quartavious Davis as "a resounding defense of the Fourth Amendment's continuing vitality in the digital age."

'Collateral damage' feared in Harlem gang sweep

Posted on June 10th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

New York CityIn a dramatic early morning raid June 4, some 400 NYPD cops wearing bullet-proof vests stormed the Manhattanville and Grant housing projects in Harlem, arresting scores in what was boasted as the largest gang case in New York City history. In what was dubbed Operation Crew Cut Initiative, police commissioner William Bratton announced 103 indictments of accused members of the Make It Happen Boys, Money Avenue and 3 Staccs gangs. Charges in the 145-count indictment include conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit gang assault, and weapons possession. Of those indicted, 41 were already in jail on other charges. The three warring crews are  held responsible for at least two homicides and 19 shootings in and around the housing projects in recent years. The suspects are all between 15 and 30 years old. "If you choose this lifestyle, you will suffer the same fate as these individuals," Bratton said at a news conference later in the day. (Daily News, WABC, Newsday, June 4)

Family seeks federal review of SWAT raid that left tot in coma

Posted on June 9th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

GeorgiaA Georgia family and state lawmakers are demanding a federal investigation into the case of a toddler severely injured by a flash grenade during a drug raid May 28. Bounkham Phonesavanh—19 months old, and nicknamed Bou Bou—remains in a medically induced coma at the Grady Memorial Hospital burn unit in Atlanta. Habersham County District Attorney Brian Rickman told AP his office is investigating to determine whether any officers will face criminal charges. Police said officers were searching for a potentially armed drug suspect at the home and did not know children were inside when they broke down the door and threw in a flash grenade. The grenade landed in the sleeping boy's playpen, according to both authorities and the Phonesavanh family.

Victory for hemp in Kentucky

Posted on June 6th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

leafUniversity of Kentucky agronomy researchers on May 27 planted a small hemp plot at Spindletop Research Farm outside Lexington—marking a victory in the state's showdown with the Drug Enforcement Administration. The seeds used were part of a shipment from Italy that was only released after Kentucky's Agriculture Department filed suit against the federal government, naming the Justice Department, DEA and US Customs and Border Protection. The breakthrough came after attorneys for the state and federal government met twice with a federal judge in Louisville, the DEA agreeing to issue a permit for release of the shipment—which Kentucky authorities said was not legally needed. Kentucky attorneys argued that the recent US Farm Bill allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp pilot projects for research in states that permit hemp cutlivation. Several more test crops were planted at other sites around the state in the following days. (ABC, Lexington Herald-Leader, May 27; AP, May 14)

Medical advocates hail Congressional vote to curb DoJ enforcement

Posted on May 30th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

capitolIn an unprecedented 219-189 floor vote late May 29, the House of Representatives approved the end of funding for Department of Justice (DoJ) enforcement in medical marijuana states. Advocates are hailing the vote as a major victory that signals a shift in the approach Congress is taking on this issue. The vote was on Amendment No. 25 to the Commerce, Justice & Science (CJS) appropriations bill. One hundred seventy Democrats and 49 Republicans voted in favor of the amendment. "This Congressional vote is a huge victory for patients," said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access. "No longer will we have to look over our shoulder and worry when the next raid or indictment will prevent us from safely and legally accessing our medicine. This is a game-changer that paves the way for much more policy change to come."

Minnesota medical marijuana law gets mixed reviews

Posted on May 29th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

medical marijuanaGov. Mark Dayton signed a bill into law May 29 that makes Minnesota the 22nd medical marijuana state. Patient advocates celebrated the passage of SF 2470, which will protect qualified patients from arrest, prosecution and discrimination, and license two manufacturers and eight distribution centers. However, advocates voiced concern that the law prohibits smoking medical marijuana, as well as the use and possession of cannabis in herbaceous form. The bill empowers "health care practitioners" to recommend marijuana to patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, seizures, and a range of other medical conditions. However, the law limits medical marijuana use to oil that is extracted from the plant using a state-licensed manufacturing process. The law requires the state to start supplying patients with medical marijuana oil by July 1, 2015.

Cannabis front in Western water wars?

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

WashingtonCannabis cultivation is emerging as an issue in the American West's interminable conflicts over control of water. On May 20, the US Bureau of Reclamation (BuRec), which supplies irrigation districts across the western states, issued a policy memo saying its water may not be used for marijuana. BuRec staff would document "all activities and communications" regarding "known or potential uses" of its waters for cannabis cultivation—and "will report such use to the Department of Justice." Washington state's Roza Irrigation District, which supplies BuRec water to some 72,000 acres in Yakima and Benton counties, in early April issued a "precautionary message" warning cannabis growers that they could get cut off. But the practical effects of the policy are unclear. If the Justice Department were to target irrigation districts for supplying water when it's not targeting the folks actually growing the cannabis, it would have a lot of angry corn and apple farmers on its hands.

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