Caribbean

Empire strikes back against Belize?

Central America OK, we don't want to get too paranoid here. But last month, after years of studying the matter, the government of Belize took a big step toward cannabis decrim. On Feb. 19, the  cabinet formally handed recommendations made by the Decriminalization of Marijuana Committee, assigned to assess the matter, over to the office of the Attorney General for final review. This means introduction of a decrim bill is almost certainly imminent. Sources say the proposed legislation would allow for persons in possession of 10 grams or less to face a fine or community service. The fine is named as 15 Belizean dollars (US$7.50) per gram. The law would also be retroactive, expunging the records of those convicted in the past for possession within these limits. Former National Security Minister Doug Singh, who has pushed for a more lenient policy, said, "Too many young people have this following them, those who are seeking jobs."

DEA busts nephews of Venezuela's 'First Combatant'

Posted on November 13th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

VenezuelaTwo nephews of the wife of Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro were arrested this week in Haiti, turned over to DEA agents and flown to the United States to face drug trafficking charges, the New York Times reports Nov. 11. The two men, Efraín Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freitas, are nephews of Cilia Flores—called by the populist Maduro the "First Combatant" rather than first lady. Flores is a powerful political figure in her own right, and is currently running for Venezuela's congress with the ruling party. The nephews are expected to appear this week in Federal District Court in Manhattan. They were charged in a sealed indictment accusing them of conspiring to ship 800 kilograms of cocaine to the United States, to be sold in New York City, according to a "person with knowledge of the matter."

Puerto Rico governor issues medical marijuana decree

Posted on May 5th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

medical marijuanaPuerto Rico's Gov. Alejandro García Padilla on May 3 signed an executive order calling a halt to prosecutions for medical use of marijuana on the island territory. Effective immediately, the order authorizes the Commonwealth's Health Secretary Ana Rius to permit medical use of "some or all controlled substances or components of the cannabis plant." The decree also calls on Rius to produce a report within three month "detailing the efforts made in compliance with this order, and the results obtained and the work plan to follow." Cannabis will be subject to taxation under the new plan, which is seen by most media accounts (e.g. PanAm Post) as a strategy to address the Commonwealth's urgent fiscal crisis.

Hezbollah connection to Suriname narco-state —not!

Posted on March 11th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

CaribbeanHere we go again: the headline says one thing, the actual text (if you read carefully enough) something else entirely. In the relentless effort to hype a Middle East terrorist connection to the Latin American narco-traffic, the feds just scored a real coup. Dino Bouterse, the son of Suriname's current president and former military dictator Desi Bouterse, was on March 10 sentenced in federal court in New York City to 16 years for attempting to provide material support to Hezbollah, along with narco-trafficking and firearms charges. Bouterse, who was arrested in Panama in 2013 and pled guilty, was an architect of Suriname's Counter-Terrorism Unit (of course).  "Dino Bouterse was supposed to oppose terrorism," said US attorney Preet Bharara. "Instead, Bouterse betrayed his official position and tried to support and aid Hezbollah, including his agreement to assist Hezbollah in acquiring weapons, and conspiring to import cocaine to the US. Today he has been sentenced to a lengthy prison term for those odious crimes."

Jamaica: cabinet introduces ganja legalization bill

Posted on January 23rd, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

CaribbeanThe Jamaican cabinet on Jan. 19 approved a bill to decriminalize possession of personal quantities of ganja (as the stuff is endearingly called in Jamaica's legal code). Beyond that, the bill would establish a Cannabis Licensing Authority to oversee cultivation, sale and distribution for medical, spiritual and industrial purposes. Possession of two ounces or less would be a ticketable infraction, leaving no criminal record. While public use would remain banned, the law would establish both a medicinal and religious defense, as well as permiting licensed cultivation of industrial hemp. The bill, officially the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act of 2015, now goes to the Senate for approval. Justice Minister Mark Golding expressed his optimism that the Lower House will move to pass the proposed statute following approval by the Senate.

2014: international drug war round-up

earth2014 witnessed considerable fraying of the international Drug War consensus—but the horrific violence that finally sparked this long-overdue reckoning continued to take its grim toll. On the upside, Uruguay regsitered its first cannabis clubs, and Jamaica is now studying a decrim initiative. In a very hopeful sign, regional bodies in the Caribbean and West Africa are following suit with studies of potential decrim or legalization. And signs of the failure of the prohibitionist model kept mounting. For a second consecutive year, opium cultivation in Afghanistan broke all previous records—despite some $7 billion spent by the US to combat Afghan opium over the past decade. Hashish busts at sea—especially the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean—also soared. Saudi Arabia went on a beheading spree, targeting drug convicts (as well as those found guilty of adultery, "sorcery" and other such wackery). ISIS (whose beheadings somehow sparked far greater media outrage) started eradicating the cannabis fileds of northern Syria, after the Syrian civil war had sparked a regional hashish boom, with a profusion of militias needing narco-profits to fund their insurgencies. The same cycle that Afghanistan saw with both hashish and opium when the Taliban was in power before 9-11.

Coming soon: Marley Natural brand cannabis

Posted on November 20th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

Bob MarleyReaction continues to mount to news that Bob Marley's name is to be further immortalized as a cannabis brand—not just a strain, but an actual brand name. Privateer Holdings, a Seattle-based private equity firm that invests in the cannabis industry, has struck a deal with the estate of the late reggae superstar to launch a global marijuana brand, Financial Times reports. The firm's Marley Natural subsidiary will start marketing its line next year, including "heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains," cannabis-infused skin creams and lip balms, and accessories such as vaporizers and pipes "based on those that Bob preferred." (Oh? Did Bob vape? Really?) Privateer CEO Brendan Kennedy said he is interested in markets including the Netherlands, Uruguay, Canada, Spain and Israel. 

Electoral advances in DC, Oregon, Guam...

leafIn the Nov. 4 elections, voters in Washington DC approved Initiative 71, a legalization measure allowing residents to grow up to six plants at home and possess up to two ounces. The victory portends a showdown with Congress, as the Republicans will now control both houses. Oregon approved Measure 91, a legalization measure giving regulatory control to the state liquor control agency and allowing Oregon citizens to grow up to four plants. We continue to await word on a legalization measure in Alaska. A medical marijuana measure in Florida was defeated. Guam became the first US territory to pass a medical marijuana measure. (Reuters, NPRSmell The Truth)

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