Caribbean

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...

Posted on November 5th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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)

International manhunt after Haiti prison break

Posted on August 13th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

HaitiOfficials in Haiti on Aug. 12 announced that police have re-captured Clifford Brandt, a disgraced businessman who seems to have been the intended beneficiary of an armed prison break two days earlier. Brandt was reportedly taken at a town on Haiti's border with the Dominican Republic. In the audacious raid on Haiti's main Croix-des-Bouquets prison, gunmen attacked the facility from within and without, seemingly allowing the entire population of inmates to escape—more than 800. But Brandt, a scion of one of Haiti's most prominent families, is believed to have organized the attack. Brandt had been imprisoned since 2012 on charges of kidnapping at least two children. Two guards suffered bullet wounds in the prison shoot-out. Haitian officials have alerted authorities in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica to help in hunting down the escapees, who may have fled abroad. Some reports indicated Brandt was actually intercepted by the Dominican army as he tried to cross the border at Cornillon/Grand Bois, and then turned over to Haitian authorities.

Aruba frees Venezuelan 'narco-general' wanted in US

Posted on August 4th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

VenezuelaVenezuela has scored a win in its ongoing diplomatic and propaganda war with Uncle Sam. The most recent flare-up started July 24, when authorities in Aruba arrested Gen. Hugo Carvajal, a top Venezuelan official wanted in the US on drug trafficking charges. Carvajal had been military intelligence chief under the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, and was accused by the US Treasury Department of using his position to protect cocaine shipments for Colombia's FARC guerillas. He had just arrived in Aruba after being appointed Venezuela's consul there—and was promptly detained at Washington's behest. Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro called the detention a "kidnapping," and demanded Carvajal's immediate release. And three days later, a judge on the island found that since Carvajal had a diplomatic passport, his arrest was illegal. He was sprung and quickly made the short flight back to Venezuela. "He's returning free and victorious. It's a triumph for sovereignty and legality," president Maduro said, praising the "bravery" of the Dutch government. (The Guardian, July 28; BBC News, July 27; Maduradas, July 24)

Caribbean, West African nations to study decrim

Posted on July 7th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

CaribbeanAt the semi-annual summit of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), held July 1-4 in Antigua, regional leaders agreed to establish a commission to review marijuana policy and assess the need for reforms. The communiqué issued at the conclusion of the meeting stated: "Heads of Government agreed to establish a Regional Commission on Marijuana to conduct a rigorous enquiry into the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Region and to advise whether there should be a change in the current drug classification of marijuana, thereby making the drug more accessible for a range of users." Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who pushed to get the issue on the agenda as chair of CARICOM, said: "It seems to me counterproductive to ignore the potential of an industry in respect of medical marijuana and to continue to expend police, national security, court resources on persons who consume a minuscule amount of marijuana in the privacy of their homes." (Drug Policy, July 7)

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