United States

Alabama prison riot: more to come?

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

AlabamaGov. Robert Bentley visited Holman prison in southwest Alabama March 15—in the wake of a bloody uprising at the facility. Inmates stabbed the warden and a guard when the trouble began four days earlier, then seized control of a dorm for several hours the day before the governor's visit. A Correctional Emergency Response Team was sent in to restore control. Both the warden and guard survived, but the facility remains on lockdown, with visitation rights suspended. Bentley pledged to address problems of overcrowding at the state's prisons during his visit, reported local WHNT.

No federal charges in Ramarley Graham case

Posted on March 8th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

New York City The Manhattan US Attorney's office announced March 8 that it will not prosecute the NYPD officer who killed unarmed teen Ramarley Graham—almost four years to the day after he was slain by undercover officers who had chased him into his own apartment in The Bronx. No gun was found—just a small a bag of cannabis, which he was apparently trying to flush down the john. "After conducting a thorough and independent investigation, the US Attorney's Office has determined that there is insufficient evidence to meet the high burden of proof required for a federal criminal civil rights prosecution" of police officer Richard Haste, said a statement from Preet Bharara, federal prosecutor for New York's Southern District. "Accordingly, this office's investigation into Mr. Graham's death has been closed."

Right to film cops at issue in Philly federal case

Posted on March 1st, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Shadow WatchPhilly Voice reports that the Pennsylvania ACLU is planning to appeal following a decision last month by a federal court that a citizen has no First Amendment right to record police activity without a specific, critical reason for doing so. In the Feb. 19 decision, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled in Fields vs. City of Philadelphia that absent "any state purpose of being critical of the government," your freedom of speech is not applicable when recording the activities of police officers.

Shut-down of Montana dispensaries feared in wake of court ruling

Posted on February 26th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

MontanaA mass shut-down of cannabis dispensaries in Big Sky Country is feared after a Feb. 25 ruling of the Montana Supreme Court. In a 6-1 decision, the high court upheld provisions of the state's restrictive medical marijuana law passed in 2011, finding them a "rational response" of the dramatic increase in users. The provisions limit providers to no more than three patients each, and impose other restrictions, incuding a ban on advertising. In one victory for the state's burgeoning cannabis industry, a provision that banned providers from receiving compensation was struck down. But the ruling was harshly assailed by the Montana Cannabis Industry Association, which brought the legal challenge. 

Bill Maher makes the point by toking a joint —on the air!

Posted on February 14th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

Bill MaherIf you missed the Feb. 12 episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, do yourself a favor and check out the video on YouTube. Bill made media history that night. He starts by relating how he's always being plied with proposals to go into the cannabis biz, cashing in on the growing legal market with "Maher-ijuana" or "Billy Buds." But then he goes into an admonition for his own team: "You hippies need to get your head out of your grass! Progress doesn't just automatically snowball." He notes the rollback of abortion rights over past generation, with hundreds of clinics shut down—and makes an analogy to the hundreds of dispensaries recently closed in Los Angeles. He quipped: "And dispensaries still can't get banking services, because they're too skeevy—tha banks, not the dispensaries."

Los Angeles ex-sheriff pleads guilty in prison abuse scandal

Posted on February 10th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

CaliforniaRetired Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca pleaded guilty Feb. 10 to lying to federal investigators, in what the LA Times calls a "stunning reversal for the longtime law enforcement leader who for years insisted he played no role in the misconduct that tarnished his agency." In the plea deal filed in federal court for the Central District of California, Baca admitted to lying twice about his involvement in hiding a jail inmate from FBI investigators. In fact, Baca ordered the inmate to be isolated, putting his top deputy Paul Tanaka in charge of executing the plan, the agreement acknowledged. Baca also admitted he lied when he said he was unaware that his subordinates planned to approach an FBI special agent at her home. Baca now admits he directed the subordinates to approach the agent, stating that they should "do everything but put handcuffs" on her.  As part of the deal, prosecutors agreed not to seek a prison sentence of more than six months, Eileen Decker, US attorney for the Central District, told reporters. Tanaka is scheduled to stand trial in March on charges of obstructing the federal investigation into brutality and corruption in the county jails.

Paul Kantner, Jefferson Airplane's lead pilot, flies on...

Posted on January 29th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , .

Paul KantnerPaul Kantner, co-founder of the Jefferson Airplane and a pioneer of the San Francisco music scene in the 1960s, died Jan. 28 at the age of 74. He had suffered a heart attack earlier in the week, according to his longtime publicist and friend, Cynthia Bowman. As singer, rhythm guitarist and song-writer as well as political visionary, Kantner guided the band from its folk-rock origins through its period as a pre-eminent symbol of the counterculture and youth rebellion, climaxing with the Monterey Pop festival that kicked off the 1967 "Summer of Love," its classic early-morning performance at the utopian-spirited Woodstock festival in August 1969—and that December's disastrous and violence-plagued Altamont Speedway free concert. The band had a rebirth in the 1970s, with a new line-up and more radio-friendly sound, as the Jefferson Starship, including fellow Airplane hold-overs Marty Balin and Grace Slick, Kantner's flamboyant and contentious lover. He continued to perform with various outfits in later years, including a re-formed version of the Starship and a briefly reunited Airplane in 1989. Kantner and his Airplane bandmates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. He continued to be a vocal advocate for political causes, from cannabis legalization to support for the Nicaraguan revolution during the 1980s. 

Native American church schism sues for right to cannabis

cannabisA seemingly schismatic Oregon branch of the Native American Church claims the US government illegally seized its sacramental cannabis—and is fighting in court to get it back. Oklevueha Native American Church leaders James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney and Joy Graves brought the case Jan. 15 in a US district court in Portland. Graves says she mailed five ounces of cannabis to a church member in Ohio on Dec. 10, but it never arrived. The Postal Service tracking website reported that the package had been seized by law enforcement. A postal inspector in Portland told her cannabis is illegal under federal law and was unimpressed by her claim that she sent the herb to a church member with esophageal cancer for use in healing rituals, according to Courthouse News Service. Oregon legalized medical marijuana in 2007 and approved recreational cannabis through a ballot measure last year. Both remain illegal in Ohio, although small quantities are decriminalized there. Sending cannabis through the mails is a federal crime.

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