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Beheaded for hashish in Saudi Arabia —again

Posted on February 17th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Middle East Saudi Arabia's relentless campaign of beheadings continued Feb. 17 with the execution of three drug convicts, AFP reports—bringing to 63 the number of people put to death so far this year. Two Yemeni nationals accused of bringing hashish into the kingdom were were executed in the southwestern city of Jazan, near the border.  A Saudi national was meanwhile executed in the northern region of Tabuk after his conviction for smuggling amphetamines. The desert kingdom seems set to make a new record in beheadings this year—having executed 47 people in a single day on Jan. 2 for "terrorism."

Spanish police can't break Moroccan connection

Posted on January 28th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

SpainOperation TELOS, an effort by Spain's Guardia Civil to halt the flow of Moroccan hashish into the Iberian peninsula, is now in its thrid year—but ongoing busts only testify to the ingenuity and resources of the smugglers. On Jan. 13, the Guardia announced that they'd broken up a ring that brought the stuff into Spain's southern province of Cadiz using a fleet of pleasure boats with false bottoms, arresting 17 people and seizing five of the boats along with 4.5 ton of hash. The arrests were made in a series of raids over the past months. The nationality of those arrested was not specified. 

Syrian hashish harvest workers stranded in Lebanon

Posted on December 28th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastWe noted a year ago that ISIS was burning the cannabis fields in its areas of control in Syria (even as reports mount that the entire "Islamic State" army is hyped up on speed). In Lebanon's hashish heartland of the Bekaa Valley, meanwhile, cannabis growers have been arming to defend their turf, crops and livelihood in case ISIS invades. Now, both Reuters and National Public Radio have run reports over the past week on the plight of seasonal migrant laborers who come from Syria to the Bekaa to help harvest cannabis and produce hashish—activities just winding down now. But those who have come this year from the Syrian province of Raqqa cannot return home. Raqqa is now controlled by ISIS, its eponymous provinicial capital the de facto capital of the "Islamic State." And if word got out that these migrant laborers had worked in the hashish industry, they'd be marked for death.

Dubai: US citizen in the dock for hash-laced gummy bears

Posted on December 21st, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastA US citizen is in court in the Persian Guld emirate of Dubai for possession of gummy-bear sweets laced with hashish, the United Arab Emirate's The National newspaper reported Dec. 20. Prosecutors told the Dubai Criminal Court that the defendant, identified only as "JD," had brought the cannabis candy in from the US. Working as a manager in the Emirates, JD was busted in July at a cafe by narcotics officers acting on a tip. He was apparently intimidated into accompanying the officers to his residence, where he spilled the beans±or the bears. "He opened his fridge and picked up a plastic bag full of gummy bears," testified a police major. Nonetheless, in his court appearance this week, JD pleaded ignorance. "I used it but I didn't know what it was at the time because it was inside the sweets," JD told the judges.  

Egypt: author faces prison for writing about hashish

Posted on December 16th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

Middle EastEgyptian activist attorney Nasser Amin is challenging a law that calls for writers to be imprisoned for words that violate the country's "morals." The challenge comes in the trial of novelist Ahmed Naji, who could face two years in prison and a fine of nearly $1,300 for his work The Use of Life—because of its explicit sex scene and numerous references to hashish use. Amin argues that the law violates the Egyptian constitution, which only permits such punishment for published materials that are defamatory or encourage violence or discrimination.

Cannabis capitalism: America's future?

Posted on December 9th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

weedThere have been quite a few histories of cannabis culture and politics, but Bruce Barcott's Weed The People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America is the first to examine the cannabis industry and its future prospects at a moment when it is taking flight. His opening overview of how we got to this point is engaging if not always strictly accurate (he loans too much credence to the '70s paraquat scare). He notes the litany of US government reports back to the 1920s exculpating cannabis of the calumnies against it—all ignored by the very government that commissioned them. He details the bureaucratic obstacles that have been raised to research on cannabis' medical benefits. And he relates the passing of the torch (or, more literally, the joint) from the jazz scene to the beatniks to the hippies to the mainstream.

Saudi Arabia: hashish busts drop under harsh crackdown

Posted on December 7th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Middle East Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry announced last month that authorities in the desert kingdom have seized more than 28 tons of hashish and some 22 million amphetamine pills over the past eight months, as well as 57 pounds (26 kilograms) of heroin. They also  arrested 1,776 suspected smugglers and seized 1,230 weapons, including 184 automatic rifles. This actually represents a drop in interceptions from the previous year's figures, also announced at the end of Islamic calendar. The Ministry's Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki attributed the decline to escalated security along the border and harsh punishments for convicted smugglers. (Saudi Gazette, Nov. 17)

Pakistan: paramilitary anti-pot repression predictably pointless

Posted on December 3rd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

PakistanPakistan's Anti-Narcotic Force (ANF) on Nov. 20 announced the latest in a string of of mega-scale hashish busts in recent months. A 4.2-ton haul was reported from a "desolate site" near the mountain village of Tehsil Gulistan, in Qilla Abdullah district of Balochistan province. Authorities said the mega-stash had been deposited along with a smaller quantity of heroin in a hidden spot behind bushes for traffickers to collect for export. (Pakistan Today)

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