United States

Khat-terrorism connection raises its dubious head —again

Posted on December 27th, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

khatMuslim community leaders in Texas are protesting the latest outbreak of the perennial hype over the khat plant and its supposed links to terrorism. It began when a traffic stop near Houston last year turned up two men chewing the midly psychoactive but thoroughly illegal leaf. This sparked a year-long investigation involving local, state and federal agencies that has so far resulted in more than a half-dozen arrests. The Texas Department of Public Safety took the opportunity to link khat to terrorism in its statewide threat assessment. The statement referred to the "chewable narcotic plant grown in the Horn of Africa whose sale abroad is suspected to benefit Africa-based terrorist organizations such as al-Shabaab." That assessment, the Austin American-Statesman reported last month, was based on Congressional testimony given more than a decade ago by Steven McCraw—then-FBI-assistant director, now DPS director—who said it is likely that khat proceeds "pass through the hands of suspected [Islamic militants] and other persons with possible ties to terrorist groups."

Cannabis classification as botanical medicine restored

Posted on December 12th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

medical marijuanaIn an historic move, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) released the first installation of a two-part Cannabis Monograph (PDF) Dec. 10 that classifies marijuana as a botanical medicine, alongside many other widely accepted "Complementary and Alternative Medicines." Written and reviewed by leading experts, the monograph brings together an authoritative compendium of scientific data, including long-awaited standards for the plant's identity, purity, quality and properties. The monograph provides a foundation for health care professionals to integrate cannabis therapy into their practices on the basis of a full scientific understanding of the plant, its constituent components, and its biologic effects.

Cannabis kayak seized off California

Posted on November 23rd, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

CaliforniaFour kayakers attempting to smuggle nearly 300 pounds of cannabis into the US were arrested at sea on the morning of Nov. 22, federal authorities announced. US Customs and Border Patrol agents saw four men in separate kayaks "navigating the ocean" at about 4 AM, agency spokesman Ralph DeSio told the press. The men, all Mexican nationals, had entered US waters off Imperial Beach when authorities dispatched a helicopter and boat to intercept them, DeSio said. The men jumped out and tried to swim for it, but the helicopter used a spotlight to track them so the boat could find them in the dark waters. All the men were taken into custody and turned over to the San Diego Maritime Task Force. Agents found 99 bundles of cannabis in the kayaks, estimated to be worth $178,200.  

CBD derivative gets 'orphan drug' status

Posted on November 18th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , .

THCBritish firm GW Pharmaceuticals has won "orphan drug status"—a special category for agents developed to treat rare diseases—from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Epidiolex, a derivative of cannabidiol (CBD), to treat Dravet syndrome, a severe form epilepsy. In Utah, parents who are lobbying to import CBD-rich cannabis strains from Colorado, say they will keep up their campaign. "This changes nothing" in regard to children being able to access CBD, said Jennifer May, mother of 11-year-old Stockton, who suffers from Dravet syndrome. "On the other hand, it does lend credibility to the potential of CBD as a treatment."  Like many Dravet patients, Stockton has tried dozens of pharmaceutical fixes, and run out of options. He can no longer use the toilet and has to be fed from a tube. "Orphan drug" designation qualifies GW for tax credits and exclusive rights to the drug if approved. But FDA approval for Epidiolex could take a year or more. (Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 18)

Urban Shield police confab protested in Oakland

Posted on November 2nd, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

CaliforniaHundreds of police officers, sheriffs' deputies and military servicemen from across the country—many donning battle fatigues—converged on downtown Oakland's Marriott Hotel Oct. 25 for the opening of the Urban Shield security confab and weapons show. National and international law enforcement agencies joined with defense industry contractors to attend seminars and display wares for three days. Outside the Marriott, scores of community activists protested the event. United under the name Facing Urban Shield, the coalition said the militarist tone of the event highlighted the worsening human rights records of police forces around the US, and the waste of billions of tax-dollars on prisons. They also charged that the showcasing of arms dealers undercut crime-plagued Oakland's efforts to stem gun violence.

SCOTUS turns down appeal of rescheduling case

Posted on October 8th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

SCOTUSThe US Supreme Court on Oct. 7 rejected a challenge to the federal government's classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug with no legitimate medical use. Challenger Americans for Safe Access contended that more than 200 studies have established that cannabis is safe and effective in relieving pain and nausea, and in relieving the effects of chemotherapy, among other medical uses. But federal courts have let stand the Drug Enforcement Administration's stance that the studies are insufficient.

Louisiana: 20 years for half an ounce

Posted on September 25th, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

LouisianaIt seems positively surreal that in the same USA where states like Colorado and Washington are legalizing cannabis, states like Louisiana are sending hapless souls up the river for possession of less than ounce—but this is indeed the case. New Orleans public interest attorney Bill Quigley in a Sept. 23 piece on the website Common Dreams notes the case of Corey Ladd, 27, a local man who on Sept. 24 was sentenced by a city criminal court to a full 20 years of "hard labor" at a state facility for holding 15 grams—that is, just slightly over half an ounce. 

Medical advocates stage rally at anti-marijuana conference

Posted on September 21st, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

CaliforniaMedical marijuana advocates Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will join the Brownie Mary Democratic Club of Riverside County to stage a peaceful counter-demonstration at 11 AM on Monday, Sept. 23, against the 2013 National Marijuana Policy & Strategy Conference being held in Rancho Cucamonga. The conference is sponsored by some of the same groups that have strenuously lobbied against statewide regulations in California, including the California Narcotic Officers' Association and the California Peace Officers' Association.

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