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Activists bash Trump's 'Global Call' to renew drug war at UN

earthAs the UN General Assembly met in New York, President Trump issued a "Global Call" to renew the war on drugs—to the dismay of activists and dissenting nations. But the UN itself has a contradictory cannabis policy—with some agencies recognizing its efficacy as medicine and others backing the prohibitionist doctrine of the Single Convention treaty.

Youth movement protests pot prohibition in ex-Soviet Georgia

Posted on May 18th, 2018 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

CaucasusA protest in the Caucasus republic of Georgia to demand legalization of personal drugs use, with an emphasis on cannabis, points to changing times in the former USSR. The youth group behind the protest was first formed to demand freedom for a popular artist who was sentenced to 14 years for possession of a small amount of herb. The country's top court actually struck down penalties for cannabis possession as a result of the case. But the activists are pressing their campaign—a sign of cultural thaw in a region with very harsh drug laws.

Cannabis case at issue in Russia World Cup boycott moves

Posted on April 16th, 2018 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

CaucasusWith Moscow accused of all manner of sinister shenanigans on the global stage, calls are mounting for a boycott of the World Cup, which is scheduled to be held in Russia this summer. Among the cases drawing special ire from rights groups is that of the leading human rights activist in Chechnya—now imprisoned on a "blatantly fabricated" cannabis charge.

Chechen police state turns ire on druggies

Posted on January 23rd, 2018 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

CaucasusYou could smell this one coming. Last year, horrific reports emerged from the southern Russian republic of Chechnya that authorities were rounding up gays in detainment camps and subjecting them to torture —the first time this kind of thing has happened in Europe since Nazi Germany. Now the reign of terror is being extended to drug users and small-time dealers, who are facing grisly torture at the hands of Chechen security forces as part of the same ultra-puritanical campaign. Reports describe electric current being applied to suspects' fingertips to induce them to "confess." No one has survived such questioning without eventually admitting their crime, the victims were told.

Who is world's top cannabis producer?

earthThe United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) last week issued its World Drug Report 2017—its 20th annual survey of production, trafficking and eradication and enforcement efforts around the globe. In past years, the report has sought to quantify the amount of cannabis cultivated in each producer country—over the past decade consistently placing Morocco in first place, generally followed by Mexico and Paraguay. This general trend continues—with some new variations.

Brazil, Bolivia launch joint anti-narco operation

Posted on May 15th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .
BoliviaBolivia and Brazil agreed to a joint plan to fight criminal gangs that operate on their shared jungle border, long pourous for drug and arms traffickers. The decision was taken at a Brasilia meeting between Brazil's Justice Minister Osmar Serraglio and Bolivia's Government Minister Carlos Romero on May 13. The plan includes establishment of new border checkpoints in the Bolivian outposts of Bella Vista and Puerto Evo and the Brazilian villages of Costa Marques and Plácido de Castro. It establishes mechanisms for sharing intelligence, and operations to secure control of air-space over the border zone. It also calls for joint military training between the two countries.

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)

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.

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