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Middle East

Israel moves to decriminalize recreational cannabis

Posted on March 6th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Middle EastIsrael's cabinet on March 4 approved a proposed measure to decriminalize recreational use of cannabis, allowing it to go to a vote in the country's parliament, the Knesset. If it passes there, as is expected, first-time cannabis offenders will face a fine of 1,000 shekels ($270), but criminal charges will only be brought on a fourth offense. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who led the reform effort, said that "the government's approval is an important step on the way to implement the new policy, which will emphasize public information and treatment instead of criminal enforcement."

Trump sanctions Venezuela veep as 'kingpin'

Posted on February 14th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

VenezuelaThe Trump administration has seriously turned up the heat on Venezuela, slapping sanctions on the country's vice president as a drug "kingpin." The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Feb. 13 officially named Tareck Zaidan El Aissami as a "Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker" under terms of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) of 1999. The order charges that El Aissami received pay-offs from a trafficking network linked to Mexico's Zetas narco-gang. Under the order, US nationals and corporations are barred from doing business with El Aissami, and all his assets within the country are frozen.

Flogged for cannabis in Saudi Arabia

Posted on January 2nd, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

Middle EastSaudi Arabia, already under scrutiny for its draconian punishments for drug offenses and other victimless crimes, just registered yet another medieval barbarism. Bahrain's Gulf Digital News reported Dec. 27 that a man convicted of possession of 59 kilograms of cannabis (about 130 pounds) was sentenced to 10 years in prison—and 1,200 lashes. The Criminal Court in Mecca also fined the presumed trafficker 100,000 riyals (about $25,000) and banned him from travelling abroad for 10 years on serving his term. He was arrested by a police patrol after a search of his vehicle found the stash hidden inside the spare wheel.

Iran: outrage over mass execution of drug convicts

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

Middle EastInternational outrage over the mounting wave of executions in Iran reached another milestone Aug, 27, when 12 drug convicts were hanged at Karaj Central Prison outside Tehran. Days earlier, when the 12 were transferred to solitary confinement at the Karaj facility in preperation for the executions, the United Nations issued an urgent plea. UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, called on the Islamic Republic to stay the executions immediately. After they were carried out, Shaheed's response was harsh.

Medical cannabis kosher for Passover

Posted on April 20th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

kosher cannabisOn the eve of the Passover holiday, a breakthough is reported in the controversy over whether cannabis is kosher. The Times of Israel just couldn't resist the smart-alecky lede: "Getting baked on Passover is no longer just for matzah, a leading Orthodox rabbi ruled, after sniffing (but not smoking) some cannabis leaves..." Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, Israel's leading Orthodox halachic (Jewish law) authority, ruled that cannabis is kosher for Passover and can be either eaten or smoked over the eight-day festival, during which strict dietary laws apply. Kanievsky issued the ruling in response to a query from the cannabis advocacy group Siach—which means both "plant" and "conversation" in Hebrew.

Iran under pressure to drop death penalty for drug offenses

Posted on April 15th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Middle EastUN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on April 14 issued a statement appealing to Iran to halt executions for drug offenses until the country's parliament debates a new law that would eliminate the mandatory death penalty for drug-related crimes. The statements came in response to the hanging of five men over the weekend, three of them on charges of narcotics trafficking. In at least one of those cases, a man sentenced to death in 2012 for possession of crystal meth, there were serious concerns about the fairness of the trial and denial of the right to appeal. The statement noted lthat ast year, at least 966 people were executed in Iran—the highest rate in more than two decades. The majority were hanged for drug offenses. At least four of those executed in 2015 were juveniles.

Palestinian police in West Bank cannabis raid

Posted on March 15th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Middle EastPalestinian police on March 12 raided a plant nursery in the West Bank village of Yasid, north of Nablus, and discovered more than 2,000 saplings of "narcotic hybrid cannabis" growing in seven greenhouses. A Palestinian Authority police spokesperson said in a statement the bust was part of an ongoing crackdown on drug use across the West Bank. Two suspects found on scene were arrested after attempting to flee the scene, the spokesperson told the indpendent Ma'an News Agency. The report did not mention what was done with the seized cannabis, but it was presumably incinerated.

Iran: every man in village 'executed on drug charges'

Posted on March 1st, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

Middle EastAmid the alarming surge in executions by Iran comes the news that every man in one village has apparently been executed on drug charges. Shahindokht Molaverdi, the cabinet member for women and family affairs, made the admission while urging the government to provide increased aid for convicts' families.  "We have a village in Sistan and Baluchestan [province] where every single man has been executed," she was quoted by Iran's Mehr news agency, in comments picked up and translated into English by the UK Independent.  "Today their children are potential drug traffickers; either because they will seek revenge for the deaths of their fathers or because they will need to financially provide for their families, as a result of lack of support by the government."

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