‘Uruguay could become the first Latin American country to legalise and regulate the sale of marijuana.
Politicians are considering a law President José Mujica Cordano has proposed, which – it is hoped – would take away business from drug traffickers and organised crime.’
by Helena Smith
‘Nobody knows which came first: the economic crisis tearing Greece apart or shisha, the drug now known as the “cocaine of the poor”. What everyone does accept is that shisha is a killer. And at €2 or less a hit, it is one that has come to stalk Greece, the country long on the frontline of Europe‘s financial meltdown.
“As drugs go, it is the worst. It burns your insides, it makes you aggressive and ensures that you go totally mad,” said Maria, a former heroin addict. “But it is cheap and it is easy to get, and it is what everyone is doing.”
The drug crisis, brought to light in a new film by Vice.com, has put Athens’s health authorities, already overwhelmed by draconian cuts, under further strain.
The drug of preference for thousands of homeless Greeks forced on to the streets by poverty and despair, shisha is described by both addicts and officials as a variant of crystal meth whose potential to send users into a state of mindless violence is underpinned by the substances with which the synthetic drug is frequently mixed: battery acid, engine oil and even shampoo.
Worse still, it is not only readily available, but easy to make – tailor-made for a society that despite official prognostications of optimism, and fiscal progress, on the ground, at least, sees little light at the end of the tunnel.’
by Mike Riggs
‘Only six percent of Americans think minor marijuana possession should be punishable by jail time, according to a new Reason-Rupe poll. The poll also found that a strong plurality of Americans think the use or possession of small amounts of marijuana should not be punishable at all.
When asked, “Which approach do you think government and law enforcement should take toward someone found smoking marijuana or in possession of a small amount of marijuana?”, six percent of respondents said possession should be punishable with jail, 20 percent said it should result in mandatory substance abuse counseling, 32 percent said users should incur a fine, and 35 percent of respondents said people caught with small amounts of marijuana should not be punished at all.
The Reason-Rupe poll is one of the few instances–possibly the first–in which the usual polling dichotomies of incarceration v. treatment and criminal penalty v. civil penalty have been expanded to include no penalty whatsoever. The results suggest that Americans are comfortable with the idea of decriminalization–which reduces the penalty for minor marijuana possession to a civil fine–and more sympathetic than ever to the idea of fully legalizing possession. ‘
‘Britain’s foreign spying apparatus MI6 has been funneling tens of millions of pounds to corrupt officials in Afghanistan as bribes in a corrupt attempt to buy influence in the country.
According to western media reports, MI6 is secretly spending UK taxpayers’ money in the form of ‘ghost money’ bribes in Afghanistan to prop up warlords and corrupt authorities.
MI6 has a long history of trying to buy influence in countries of interest.’
by Ben Child
‘Tommy Chong, the veteran star of the dope-fuelled Cheech and Chong films, says he has beaten prostate cancer with a combination of cannabis use and a special diet.
Chong, 74, was diagnosed with cancer in June last year following a three-year period in which he said he had been drug free. He now says he is 99% free of the disease after a Canadian doctor helped him change his diet to include a variety of special supplements, as well as hemp oil. He then sat for a number of sessions with a practitioner named Adam Dreamhealer, described as a “world-renowned healer”.
“That’s right, I kicked cancer’s ass!” Chong wrote on the website CelebStoner.com. “So the magic plant does cure cancer with the right diet and supplements. I’m due for another blood test, MRI, etc, but I feel the best I’ve felt in years. And now for a celebration joint of the finest Kush …”’
The Global Post
‘Vermont’s legislature on Monday voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, making the New England state the 17th to relax restrictions on the drug.
The House of Representatives followed an earlier vote in the state Senate in favor of the measure and Governor Peter Shumlin, a strong supporter, was expected to sign it into law.
The law would decriminalize possession of up to one ounce (28.3 grams) of marijuana and also small quantities of hashish, although a civil penalty similar to a traffic fine would still be imposed.’
by JEREMY LAURANCE
‘Smoking cannabis may prevent the development of diabetes, one of the most rapidly rising chronic disorders in the world. If the link is proved, it could lead to the development of treatments based on the active ingredient of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), without its intoxicating effects. Researchers have found that regular users of the drug had lower levels of the hormone insulin after fasting – a signal that they are protected against diabetes. They also had reduced insulin resistance.
[...] The study involved almost 5,000 patients who answered a questionnaire about their drug use and were part of the National Health and Nutrition Survey between 2005 and 2010. The results showed almost 2,000 had used cannabis at some point in their lives and more than one in 10 (579) were current users. Only those who had used cannabis within the past month showed evidence of protection against diabetes, suggesting that the effects wear off in time. Current users of the drug had 16 per cent lower fasting insulin than those who had never used the drug.
[...] Almost one in 20 adults in the UK has diabetes, of which 2.6 million are diagnosed and 500,000 are undiagnosed. Rates are rising in this country and around the world, driven by Western lifestyles, and the number of cases is expected to exceed 4 million in the UK by 2025. The illness increases the risk of heart failure, kidney failure, and death – and is one of the biggest health challenges facing the UK.’
Police Raid Home of Medicinal Marijuana Multiple Sclerosis Patient, Throw Her Kids in Foster Care ~ Alternet
by Alex Kane
‘Three prominent advocates for medical marijuana in Idaho had their children taken away after the police investigated them on charges relating to marijuana trafficking. Their sons were considered to be in “imminent danger” by law enforcement, and they were all taken away and put in foster case, local news outlet KTVB reports.‘
‘Springfield, Colo., farmer Ryan Loflin on Monday planted the nation’s first industrial hemp crop in almost 60 years.
Loflin’s plans to grow hemp already have been chronicled, and Monday’s planting attracted the attention of more media in southeastern Colorado and a documentary film crew.
Hemp is genetically related to marijuana but contains little or no THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana. Hemp has dozens of uses in food, cosmetics, clothing and industrial materials.
Its cultivation in small test plots became legal last year under a Colorado law. The passage of Amendment 64 in November allowed commercial growing, even though hemp, like marijuana, is illegal under federal law.’
by PHILIP BUMP
‘Leaders of the New York Police Department offered an innovative (if self-deprecating) rationale for its practice of stop-and-frisks: 10 percent of its officers are lazy and need an incentive to get out of their squad cars.
The argument is all the more surprising because it comes as part of a civil trial focused on the department’s practice of stopping people on the street suspected of crimes and searching them. That practice, dubbed stop-and-frisk, has overwhelmingly targeted people of color — and only rarely resulted in any arrests.’
Look on the bright side: There’s a roaring heroin trade in Afghanistan, and it’s all thanks to us ~ Independent
by MARK STEEL
‘[...] It could be claimed that the growth in heroin production would be even greater if the occupying forces hadn’t been in the country. But this would be to deny them the credit they’re due. Because it was also revealed this week that the office of Afghan leader Harmid Karzai has been regularly receiving envelopes stuffed with cash from the CIA, for the past 11 years. The New York Times reported that the money has come in “backpacks, suitcases and plastic bags”.
The allegations are denied by a Foreign Ministry spokesman, but Karzai explained the purpose of these payments was to “secure the support of those leaders who have been loyal”. One of the other reasons for the invasion, you may recall, was to stamp out corruption. That makes sense, because you can’t stamp out corruption without the support of honest, reliable officials, and you can’t expect them to stay honest and reliable for nothing so it makes sense to hand them envelopes stuffed with cash every couple of weeks.’
by David Ferguson
A Colorado Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that businesses can still fire employees who test positive for marijuana use, even if they never show up to work under the influence. According to NBC News, a divided panel of judges ruled that even though marijuana use is legal in the state, the fact that it is illegal under federal law trumps employees’ right to privacy.
The case before the court centered around Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic former telephone operator for Dish Network. When Coats tested positive for medical marijuana use in 2010, Dish Network fired him.
by EMILY DAVIES
The Daily Mail
The British banking crisis was caused by bankers taking cocaine, according to the Government’s former drugs tsar.
Professor David Nutt, who was sacked in 2009 after saying there was ‘not much difference’ between the dangers of taking ecstasy and horse riding, said bankers who took cocaine became ‘overconfident’ and ‘took more risks’.
He said cocaine suited their ‘culture of excitement and drive and more and more and more’ attitude.
US President Barack Obama’s drug czar has spoken out against recently-passed state laws in Colorado and Washington, condemning legislation that legalizes the possession of marijuana in small amounts.
Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, told an audience in Washington, DC on Wednesday that the Obama administration does not plan on honoring new state laws that let the millions of adults in Colorado and Washington legally smoke up.
Late last year voters in both states passed separate but similar laws allowing residents and visitors over the age of 21 to legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana, in doing so becoming two of the first venues in the nation to relax stringent state legislation.
But despite those laws reflecting the overwhelming voice of voters, Kerlikowske says the White House will rely on a longstanding federal statute that puts pot in the same category as heroin, cocaine and other Schedule I narcotics.
Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is expected to increase for a third straight year, expanding even to poppy-free areas this year, a United Nations report warned on Monday.
The Afghanistan Opium Risk Assessment 2013 said Afghanistan was moving towards record levels of opium production this year despite eradication efforts by the international community and Afghan government.
“The assessment suggests that poppy cultivation is not only expected to expand in areas where it already existed in 2012… but also in new areas or in areas where poppy cultivation was stopped,” the survey said.
The study by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says that a strong association between insecurity, lack of agricultural assistance and opium cultivation are fuelling the trend.
[...] Afghanistan produces about 90 percent of the world’s opium and in 2012 the UNODC warned that opium cultivation in the country had increased by 18 percent.
by Adam Thomson
[...] All over Guerrero state, as well as in other parts of Mexico, self-defense or vigilante groups are springing up in response to the unanswered threat of criminal gangs.
Garibo says that in Tierra Colorada, the small, sun-baked town where he is keeping vigil, at least 250 people have taken up arms. The six surrounding municipalities have dozens of communities. Each community has at least two self-defense groups comprising 12 men each, he says.
That Guerrero should be the focus of the latest phase of Mexico’s drugs-based security problem is hardly surprising. The mountainous state that hugs the country’s Pacific coast has for decades been a center of marijuana and heroin production. More recently, the region has seen mass kidnappings, murders and even beheadings as rival drug gangs fight for control of lucrative international smuggling routes.
But the appearance of the groups is a reminder that for all the investors’ euphoria surrounding the new administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s drug war — and the violence it spawns — is still very much alive.
On March 11, at the 56th session of the Commission on Narcotics Drugs held by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Victor Ivanov, the head of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service, revealed that since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan heroin production has increased 40 fold, more than 1 million people have died due to Afghan heroin and now 90% of the world’s heroin supply comes from Afghanistan.
These are damning statistics which the western media and the U.S. Government will try to evade and further underline the complete failure of U.S. named “Operation Enduring Freedom,” an aggressive invasion, which has done nothing but decimate the country’s people, destroy almost all of the infrastructure and has further allowed America’s war profiteers to become fabulously rich.
For the first time, the majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, indicating a shifting public opinion in regards to the government’s criminalization of drug use.
The new survey, which was conducted by the Pew Research Center, indicates that 52 percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, which is 11 points higher than the results of the 2010 survey asking the same question.
The results also portray a drastic shift from public opinion held in the 1960s, when the overwhelming majority believed pot use should be criminalized. In 1969, Gallup found that 84 percent of Americans opposed the legalization of marijuana, and only 12 percent supported it.
Mexican drug cartels whose operatives once rarely ventured beyond the U.S. border are dispatching some of their most trusted agents to live and work deep inside the United States - an emboldened presence that experts believe is meant to tighten their grip on the world’s most lucrative narcotics market and maximize profits.
If left unchecked, authorities say, the cartels’ move into the American interior could render the syndicates harder than ever to dislodge and pave the way for them to expand into other criminal enterprises such as prostitution, kidnapping-and-extortion rackets and money laundering.
Cartel activity in the U.S. is certainly not new. Starting in the 1990s, the ruthless syndicates became the nation’s No. 1 supplier of illegal drugs, using unaffiliated middlemen to smuggle cocaine, marijuana and heroin beyond the border or even to grow pot here.
But a wide-ranging Associated Press review of federal court cases and government drug-enforcement data, plus interviews with many top law enforcement officials, indicate the groups have begun deploying agents from their inner circles to the U.S. Cartel operatives are suspected of running drug-distribution networks in at least nine non-border states, often in middle-class suburbs in the Midwest, South and Northeast.
“Freeway” Rick Ross Vows To Continue To Battle Rapper Rick Ross Over Name; Plans Appeal Of Recent Ruling ~ All Hip Hop
“Freeway” Ricky Ross has vowed to continue to battle for his own name, after his most recent defeat in court.
Last Wednesday (March 21), a judge rejected “Freeway” Ricky’s claims that Warner Bros. stole his name and likeness, to boost the career of rapper Rick Ross born William Leonard Roberts II.
The latest ruling upheld previous Judges’ rulings that “Freeway” Ricky, who was released from prison in 2009, waited too long to file his lawsuit.
Under California law, publicity rights claims have to be made within the first two years of the publication of the objectionable material.
“We feel good about our case. This is classic republication as to all defendants there was consistently new music, management decisions and product made,” Freeway Ricky Ross told The Hollywood Reporter. “The statute of limitations was never meant to be used to hide defendant actively infringing with new decisions and campaigns.”
In the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, the legal threshold at which a prosecutor is allowed to dismiss a cannabis case, under Section 31a, is set at three consumption units, or six grams. But new drugs are constantly popping up.
“Toad-licking, that’s the latest thing,” says Willi Stier, a police officer from Mannheim. He points to a photo of the toad he’s referring to, a stocky creature from America that can be ordered online. The toad has glands that can be induced to secrete a psychoactive substance with squeezing. Young people pass the animals around at parties like joints. “Get high, have fun,” says the police officer.
Stier has been on the force for 39 years and a traffic cop for 26 years. He has been giving talks on drugs at schools for the last six years. He introduces himself to students as “Will, the Drug Man.” He also speaks to teachers and parents, telling them what he was able to find out on the subject of drugs during his school talks.
In Stier’s office in an industrial area on the outskirts of the city, there is a table with all if the items he has collected in classrooms. He says that he feels that he has succeeded if he can stop one student in each class from taking drugs. Stier has five grown children of his own. During school vacations, he rides around the city in a patrol car and goes to techno parties to keep up with the scene. He is waging his battle against cannabis, but also against the many other things, whether new drugs or new ideas.
Hundreds of armed vigilantes have taken control of a town on a major highway in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero, arresting local police officers and searching homes after one of their leaders was killed. Several opened fire on a car of Mexican tourists headed to the beach for Easter week.
Members of the area’s self-described “community police” say more than 1,500 members of the force were stopping traffic on Wednesday at improvised checkpoints in the town of Tierra Colorado, which sits on the highway connecting Mexico City to Acapulco. They arrested 12 police and the former director of public security in the town after a leader of the state’s vigilante movement was slain on Monday.
A tourist heading to the beach with relatives was slightly wounded on Tuesday after they refused to stop at a roadblock and vigilantes fired shots at their car, officials said.
The vigilantes accuse the ex-security director of participating in the killing of their leader Guadalupe Quinones Carbajal, 28, on behalf of local organised crime groups and dumping his body in a nearby town on Monday.