West Africa

Morocco: push for (partial) legalization in 2016

Posted on July 13th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

North AfricaAccording to the latest World Drug Report (PDF) released by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Morocco remains the planet's top producer of "cannabis resin" (hashish), followed by Afghanistan, Lebanon, India and Pakistan. Massive seizures continue to be regularly reported. As this month opened, security forces announced confiscation of over 4,000 tons of "cannabis" (probably hashish rather than unprocessed herb) at El Guergarat crossing on the border with Mauritania. (Moroccan news accounts did not mention that this is actually not in Morocco but in the Moroccan-occupied territory of Western Sahara.) The stash was hidden in a truck headed across the border; the driver was arrested and an investigation opened into a possible trafficking network linking Morocco to exit ports in West Africa.

2014: international drug war round-up

earth2014 witnessed considerable fraying of the international Drug War consensus—but the horrific violence that finally sparked this long-overdue reckoning continued to take its grim toll. On the upside, Uruguay regsitered its first cannabis clubs, and Jamaica is now studying a decrim initiative. In a very hopeful sign, regional bodies in the Caribbean and West Africa are following suit with studies of potential decrim or legalization. And signs of the failure of the prohibitionist model kept mounting. For a second consecutive year, opium cultivation in Afghanistan broke all previous records—despite some $7 billion spent by the US to combat Afghan opium over the past decade. Hashish busts at sea—especially the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean—also soared. Saudi Arabia went on a beheading spree, targeting drug convicts (as well as those found guilty of adultery, "sorcery" and other such wackery). ISIS (whose beheadings somehow sparked far greater media outrage) started eradicating the cannabis fileds of northern Syria, after the Syrian civil war had sparked a regional hashish boom, with a profusion of militias needing narco-profits to fund their insurgencies. The same cycle that Afghanistan saw with both hashish and opium when the Taliban was in power before 9-11.

Narco-counter-coup in Guinea-Bissau?

Posted on September 25th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

AfricaTwo years ago, a military putsch in the small West African nation of Guinea-Bissau was dubbed a "narco-coup," with reports claiming the civilian president had been removed for his unwillingness to turn a blind eye to lucrative cocaine smuggling rackets by commanders of the armed forces. On Sept. 16, BBC News reported that the leader of the coup, armed forces chief Gen. Antonio Indjai, was dismissed by the new president, Jose Mario Vaz, who came to power following elections and a return to civilian rule earlier this year. Reuters suggests international pressure was behind the move. Indjai was replaced with Gen. Biague Na Ntan, described as a confidant of Vaz. Reuters notes that he is an ethnic Balanta like Indjai, which could smooth over resentment from the ethnic group that makes up about 60% of the army and security forces but just 25% of the population.

Caribbean, West African nations to study decrim

Posted on July 7th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

CaribbeanAt the semi-annual summit of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), held July 1-4 in Antigua, regional leaders agreed to establish a commission to review marijuana policy and assess the need for reforms. The communiqué issued at the conclusion of the meeting stated: "Heads of Government agreed to establish a Regional Commission on Marijuana to conduct a rigorous enquiry into the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Region and to advise whether there should be a change in the current drug classification of marijuana, thereby making the drug more accessible for a range of users." Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who pushed to get the issue on the agenda as chair of CARICOM, said: "It seems to me counterproductive to ignore the potential of an industry in respect of medical marijuana and to continue to expend police, national security, court resources on persons who consume a minuscule amount of marijuana in the privacy of their homes." (Drug Policy, July 7)

Sahara separatists in cannabis crackdown

Posted on August 19th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

North AfricaSecurity forces of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic on Aug. 19 announced the seizure of 300 kilograms  of cannabis in operations along the security wall built by the Moroccan military, which divides Morocco-occupied Western Sahara on the western side from the interior desert controlled by the  Sahrawi rebels. In a statement to the press, the Saharawi National Gendarmerie Directorate said their patrols "have arrested three groups [that] were smuggling drugs from Morocco to northern Mali via the Saharawi liberated territory." The statement said five four-wheel-drive vehicles had been seized as well. "These groups are now at the hand of Saharawi justice," added the statement.

Seeing patterns, from Colombia to Cape Town

Africa and the War on DrugsFor those who have been wondering what the truth is behind the media sensationalism about global cartels establishing Africa as their new theater of operations, Africa and the War on Drugs  by Neil Carrier and Gernot Klantschnig (Zed Books, London, 2012) clears the air in a welcome way.

The authors, a pair of British academics, portray a strategy by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to hype the threat and replicate the hardline policies pursued in Latin America and elsewhere on the African continent. Drug trafficking has definitely been growing in Africa in recent years—ironically, the authors argue, as a result of "successes" in Latin America. As the old cartels and their smuggling routes were broken up, new more fragmented networks have sought new routes and markets. This conveniently coincided with South Africa's reintegration to the world economy after the end of apartheid, and more generally with Africa's globalization.

Blood Ganja

The most enlightened cannabis connoisseurs—those who still have a link back to the values that defined the hippie culture—tend to be conscious consumers when it comes to food or computers or whatnot. They may buy organic tomatoes, boycott Taco Bell to support exploited farm workers in Florida, and petition Apple about the brutal conditions in their Chinese assembly plants. But do they pay as much attention to the source of their preferred smoking herb? 

Is there blood on your ganja?

US expands Drug War to Africa

Posted on July 29th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

The New York Times reported July 21 that the US has begun training an elite unit of counternarcotics police in Ghana, and planning similar units in Nigeria and Kenya—part of an effort to combat the Latin American cartels that are increasingly using Africa to traffic cocaine to Europe. The decision comes despite controversy over a similar program in Central America. "We see Africa as the new frontier in terms of counterterrorism and counternarcotics issues," said Jeffrey P. Breeden, chief of the DEA's Europe, Asia and Africa section. "It's a place that we need to get ahead of — we’re already behind the curve in some ways, and we need to catch up."

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