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Burma

Will high-profile cannabis bust boost Burma legalization effort?

Posted on April 29th, 2019 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

South East AsiaA US citizen was among a trio arrested in Burma for running a 20-acre cannabis plantation. The three could face life in prison, or even the death penalty. But the controversy could give new political energy to Burma's emergent legalization movement.

Burma's Rohingya refugees tarred with narco-stigma

Posted on July 26th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

South East Asia The Rohingya Muslim people of Burma are facing what some have called genocide in their homeland, long denied citizenship rights and now under attack by both the official security forces and Buddhist-chauvinist militias, who have carried out massacres and burned down their villages. Some 500,000 Rohingya have fled across the border to Bangladesh—where they are not being welcomed. Already confined to squalid refugee camps near the Burmese border, they now face forcible relocation to an uninhabited offshore island. Shunted from one region to another, they are targeted by the predictable propaganda—Burmese authorities have stigmatized them as Muslim terrorists, and now Bangladesh authorities increasingly stigmatize them as drug-traffickers.

Meth plague hits Bangladesh

Posted on April 28th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

South AsiaThe rural marshlands of Bangladesh have become the latest part of the world to be hit by the unhappy global plague of methamphetamine use. More and more of the country's struggling peasants are taking to "yaba," little pink sugar-coated pills made from caffeine and meth that are flooding in from neighboring Burma. Annual seizures of yaba in Bangladesh increased by a jaw-dropping 80,000% over the past decade, authorities say. A disturbing on-the-scene report from Public Radio International emphasizes that in conservative and Muslim rural Bangladesh, yaba is not used as a "party drug." The speed pills are most often used to get folks through long days of hard labor.

Burmese dissidents broach opium decrim

Posted on February 28th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

South East AsiaAs Burma's opium wars continue despite the country's democratic opening, actvists are using the new political space to advocate for a more tolerant policy on poppy cultivation. At a Feb. 16 panel in Rangoon, the Drug Policy Advocacy Group (DPAG) issued a call for a reform of Burma’s drug laws, The Irrawady newspaper reports. "The 1993 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law focuses on punishment. But what then, after a drug user is given imprisonment?" asked DPAG coordinator Dr. Nang Pann Ei Kham. "The 1993 law is out of date, and what's more, is that it has not been a successful law [in terms of] drug elimination."

Bolivia tilting back to prohibitionist stance?

Posted on September 19th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

AndesPresident Barack Obama once again singled out Washington's biggest political adversaries in Latin America for censure in this year's White House report on global anti-drug efforts. The annual memorandum to the State Department, "Major Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries," released Sept. 12, lists 17 Latin American countries out of a total of 22 around the world. As has now become routine, Bolivia, Venezuela and Burma are blacklisted as countries that have "failed demonstrably during the previous 12 months to adhere to the obligations under international counternarcotic agreements." (InSight Crime, Sept. 13)

Bhutan emerges as contraband cannabis hub

Posted on July 21st, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

South AsiaThe landlocked Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan was traditionally isolated—only getting television as recently as 1999. Since opening up, alas, it has been increasingly drawn into the multiple armed conflicts rocking the greater region—especially becoming a staging ground for ethnic guerillas waging insurgencies for autonomy or separatism in India. Most recently, authorities in India are asserting that some of these guerilla armies are in league with Bhutanese cannabis growers to fund their armed struggles. 

Burmese opium farmers protest eradication

Posted on May 20th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

South East AsiaThe White House has announced a partial lifting of sanctions on Burma in recognition of progress in its democratic transition. Restrictions are to be dropped on state-owned banks and businesses, although some 100 companies and individuals linked to the armed forces will remain iced. This relaxation comes at the request of longtime democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi, who although barred from holding the presidency is effectively the country’s leader following November's elections. But human rights concerns remain—especially around the fate of the Rohingya Muslims, persecuted and made stateless by the military junta that has now (mostly) surrendered power. And the multiple ethnic insurgencies in Burma's opium-producing northern mountains, while receiving less world media attention lately, continue to vex the country.

Anti-drug vigilantes heat up Burma's opium zone

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

South East AsiaWith the harvest season just weeks away, tensions are high in Burma's opium-producing Kachin state following a series of clashes between opium-growing peasants and a local citizen anti-drug movement. Pat Jasan, a patrol established two years ago by the Kachin Baptist Church, has been in repeated confrontations over the past weeks at Kachin's Waingmaw township. The most recent, on Feb. 25, resulted in at least 20 Pat Jasan followers wounded in gunfire and grenade blasts. The vigilantes were apparently set upon by a heavily-armed force while clearing poppy fields.

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