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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.

Vermont decriminalizes cannabis

Posted on June 6th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

Vermont's Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) on June 6 signed into law a bill passed by the state legislature that decriminalizes the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis or five grams of hashish.  Shumlin's signature make Vermont the 17th state to remove criminal penalties for possessing small quantities of cannabis—including all of its neighboring New England states except New Hampshire. "This change just makes common sense," Shumlin said as he signed the bill. "Our limited resources should be focused on reducing abuse and addiction of opiates like heroin and meth rather than cracking down on people for having very small amounts of marijuana." (Drug War Chronicle, June 6)

Lebanon's hashish valley drawn into Syrian war

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

Middle EastLebanon's hashish heartland of the Bekaa Valley, hit by rocket-fire from Syria on June 1, has become increasingly embroiled in the civil war raging across the border. The fertile valley, which was occupied by Syria from 1976 to 2005, is a patchwork of Sunni and Shi'ite areas, and during Lebanon's civil war in 1980s the hashish and opium trade there funded sectarian militias. There are now ominous signs of a return to this deadly rivalry. In late March, gunmen from the Sunni town of Arsal—a conduit for arms and fighters for the Syrian rebels—kidnapped a member of the powerful Shi'ite Jaafar tribe, who was absconded across the border to the rebel-held Syrian town of Yabroud, north of Damascus. The Jaafars retaliated by kidnapping six Arsal residents—ransoming them to raise the ransom money to free their comrade held in Yabroud. Lebanese security forces helped oversee the hostage exchange, and no charges were brought. Arsal has also been the target of occasional cross-border shelling, presumably by the Syrian military. On May 27, unidentified gunmen attacked a Lebanese border checkpoint near the town, killing three soldiers.

Lebanon: dissent grows to cannabis eradication

Posted on August 1st, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Middle EastThere is growing support in Lebanon's cannabis-producing eastern region (the Bekaa Valley, for centuries a major hashish production zone) for a proposal from Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt for the government to legalize and purchase the crop from the area's struggling farmers, establishing a program of controlled distribution for medicinal purposes. Advocates of the proposal say the yearly eradication of the cannabis crop by the Central Drug Control Office has led to corruption, and is breeding resentment.

Afghanistan counter-narcotics tribunal convicts nearly all defendants

Posted on June 21st, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

The US-funded Counter-Narcotics Justice Center (CNJC) in Kabul handles all of Afghanistan's large-scale drug cases—anyone arrested with more than two kilograms of heroin, 10 kilograms of opium, or 50 kilograms of hashish. It has sent hundreds to the city's notoriously harsh Pul-e Charkhi prison, and records show that nearly 98% of defendants are convicted. The conviction rate for drug offenses in the US judicial system is also very high, at 93% for federal cases in 2006—but that is largely due to plea bargains, and the ability of prosecutors to drop cases and judges to grant reduced sentences. In the CNJC there is virtually no leeway for prosecutors to drop cases that are too small or poorly evidenced. Defense attorneys say the high conviction rate means that just about every suspect who arrives at the court ends up in prison for a long time. (Joshua Hersh for Huffington Post, June 10)

Multiple cannabis bills pending in Sacramento

Posted on March 28th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

medical marijuanaFive bills have been introduced this year in Sacramento concerning cannabis and medical marijuana, winning varying degrees of support from activists and the cannabis industry. Most likely to pass is San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's Assembly Bill 2312, which would regulate medical marijuana at the state level instead of letting each city and county take differing approaches to interpreting the law. AB 2312 would create a Board of Medical Marijuana Enforcement within the state Department of Consumer Affairs to approve or deny permits for growing, processing, testing, transporting, distributing and selling medical cannabis.

West Bank settlers patronize Palestinian dealers

Posted on January 23rd, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastJewish settlers from the Tapuch Junction area of the West Bank are suspected of purchasing hashish and cannabis from their Palestinian neighbors in the nearby village of Hawara. Israeli police investigating drug-smuggling across the "Green Line" that divides the West Bank from Israel detained several Palestinian youth at the village last week—and found that a confiscated client list included settlers from neighboring militant Jewish communities, including Yitzhar, Itamar and Har Bracha. Four Jewish clients were subsequently detained.

Spain emerges as new European cannabis hub

Posted on January 9th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

EuropeLong the main gateway to Europe for Moroccan hashish, Spain has over the past year emerged as one of the continent's main cannabis cultivation hubs, rivaling the Netherlands. Principal cultivation zones are Andalusia, Murcia, Catalonia, Aragon and especially Valencia—which the Guardia Civil describes as "a jungle of cannabis."

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