Russia

Cannabis prisoners as geopolitical pawns

Posted on February 10th, 2020 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .

prisonersThe global prohibition of cannabis affords the opportunity for imperial powers and authoritarian regimes to exploit those caught in the web of enforcement to advance their own political agendas. The recent case of Naama Issachar was deftly leveraged by Vladimir Putin, and could encourage other depots to similarly use pot prisoners to exact concessions from foreign governments.

UN 'shadow report' blasts drug war as 'failure'

earthAn international network of non-governmental organizations has submitted a "shadow report" to the United Nations, calling the war on drugs a "spectacular failure"—and calling on the world's governments to reconsider it. The report takes heart from the growing official tolerance of cannabis in several countries around the world, but warns of escalating and horrific repression in the name of drug enforcement in several others. Will the UN take heed when it revisits the question of drug policy in 2019?

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.

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