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Italy

Italy decriminalizes medical marijuana cultivation —for some

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

ItalyItaly took a step towards relaxing its marijuana policy Jan. 15, when the Council of Ministers approved a measure that removes criminal penalties for researchers who violate terms of their cultivation license, making it punishable only by a light fine. Justice Minister Andrea Orlando was quick to emphasize: "This does not decriminalize those growing weed on their terrace." The Italian military maintains a monopoly on cultivation for medical users, while only a handful of private firms have licenses to cultivate for research purposes. Those caught growing their own without a license still face up to a year in prison and a €4 million fine. But support is growing in parliament for a general decriminalization or even legalization that would extend to personal cultivation. Last July, over 200 lawmakers agreed to provisional text for a legalization bill.

Another hashish mega-haul in Mediterranean

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

EuropeSpain's Guardia Civil on July 1 announced the seizure nearly 16 tons of hashish from a vessel intercepted 45 nautical miles south of Malaga. The crew of nine were all arrested—six Syrian and three Indian nationals. The 85-meter vessel, the Just Reema, was sailing towards the eastern Mediterranean under a Congolese flag when it was boarded by the Guardia in a joint operation with French and Italian police forces dubbed "Urca," coordinated through Europol. When the vessel was first searched at sea, police found only a cargo of about 1,500 tons of salt. However, once it was brought into port at Malaga for a more thorough inspection, agents discovered that the craft had a double bottom that hid 15.7 tons of hashish. Europol estimates the value of the haul at about 24 million euros ($ 26.5 million), if sold on the Spanish market. According to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), over the past two and a half years European police forces in the Mediterranean have seized 22 ships carrying up to 30 tons of hashish each.

Italian police score hashish mega-haul in Mediterranean

Posted on June 8th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

ItalyItalian police staged a joint operation in the Mediterranean with Turkish, French, Egyptian, Spanish, Moroccan and Europol forces June 5, intercepting a Turkish cargo ship that was found to be loaded with 12 tons of hashish, valued at an estimated 40 million euros. The 10 Turkish crew members were detained, according to Turkey's BGN News. The Italian Coast Guard received a tip-off from Turkish authorities that there were drugs aboard the vessel Meryam, which was sailing from a Moroccan port. Troops intercepted and boarded the ship in the Strait of Siciliy, which separates Italy from Tunisia. Maritime Executive reports that the ship and crew are being held at the Sicilian port of Palermo.

Italian military to grow medical marijuana

Posted on September 30th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

ItalyItaly's government announced Sept. 18 plans to cultivate medical marijuana at a secure military lab outside Florence and distribute it through pharmacies. Medical marijuana has been legal in Italy since 2007, but only some 60 patients have signed up with the program overseen by the national healthcare system, the Azienda Sanitaria Locale. The Florence Military Chemical-Pharmaceutical Plant (SCFM) currently produces so-called "orphan drugs" no longer made by large pharmaceutical companies but still needed to treat rare diseases. It is now to grow cannabis under a deal signed between Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti and Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin. "The institute already produces some medicines," Pinotti told Reuters, addressing the unlikely prospect of entrusting the military with weed cultivation. "And we can guarantee security conditions."

Fortune magazine ranks top five global cartels

Posted on September 17th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

Shadow WatchWell, this is really cute. With refreshing honesty, Fortune magazine on Sept. 14 issued a list of the "Fortune 5"—the biggest organized crime groups in the world, ranked by their annual revenue estimates. No sources are given, but the Fortune editors presumably relied on international law enforcement intelligence. The results are slightly surprising for those of us who grew up in the era of the Sicilian Mafia and Medellín Cartel. Brave new crime machines have long since eclipsed these entities from the global stage, and far outstripped their earnings from human trafficking, extortion, credit card fraud, prostitution and (above all) drug smuggling. In the number one slot, by a mile, is Yamaguchi Gumi, a wing of Japan's Yakuza, with revenue estimated at $80 billion. A distant second is Russian mafia group Solntsevskaya Bratva, with revenue at $8.5 billion. Three and four are two Italian outfits that have long superceded Sicily's Cosa Nostra: the Camorra, based in Naples, with revenues of $4.9 billion; and the 'Ndrangheta, based in Calabria, with revenues of $4.5 billion. Number five is Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, with revenues of $3 billion.

Italy's high court strikes down tough cannabis law

Posted on February 13th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

ItalyItaly's Constitutional Court on Feb. 12 struck down a 2006 drug law that tripled sentences for selling, cultivating or trafficking cannabis, declaring the law to be "illegitimate." The law, passed by the conservative government of now-disgraced prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, was blamed for harsh prison overcrowding. An estimated 10,000 people may be released with its repeal.

Calabria connection broken in NYC-Italy cocaine sting?

Posted on February 11th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

ItalyA 15-count indictment was unsealed Feb. 11 in a Brooklyn federal court, charging seven defendants with narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and firearms offenses based on what an FBI press release calls their participation in a "transnational heroin and cocaine trafficking conspiracy involving the ‘Ndrangheta, one of Italy's most powerful organized crime syndicates." Italy's Polizia di Stato simultaneously announced the arrest of another 17 in the southern province of Reggio di Calabria by troops of the elite Central Anti-Crime Directorate. The coordinated international operation for two years monitored narco-trafficking networks between Latin America, Italy, Canada and the US. The Italian hub of the ring was identified as the port of Gioia Tauro in Reggio di Calabria. 

Albania emerges as top European cannabis hub

Posted on October 10th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

EuropeItalian police say Albania, the impoverished Balkan country just across the Adriatic Sea, is the source for vast quantities of cannabis entering G8 and EU member Italy. In the latest major haul in July, Italian Finance Police intercepted a full metric ton of cannabis from a speedboat along the coast of southern Puglia region. Four crewmen were arrested—two Italian and two Albanian. This came one month after the Finance Police released the results of months of air reconnaissance of Albania's hinterland, undertaken in a joint operation with Albanian police—identifying 500 cannabis plantations, accounting for a combined production of 1,000 metric tons with an estimated retail value of 4.5 billion euros. Over the past 20 years since the fall of its rigidly closed Communist dictatorship, Albania has won the title of "Europe's Afghanistan" for its prodigious cannabis production.

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