Southern Cone

Argentina hosts first medical marijuana congress

Posted on June 29th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

medical marijuanaThe First Argentine Congress on Cannabis and Health was held last week at the National University of La Plata (UNLP), bringing together academics, activists, cultivators and patients from across the Southern Cone country. The focus was on expanding the extremely limited medical marijuana law passed in Argentina earlier this year. At the opening ceremony, held in an auditorium within La Plata's provinicial legislature building, UNLP president Raúl Perdomo pledged to "work to make the regulations for the recently approved law include the national universities in cultivation and research."

US guns to Brazilian narco-gangs

Posted on June 9th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

BrazilAmid fast-escalating nightmarish narco-violence in Brazil comes disconcerting word that police in Rio de Janeiro seized 60 assault rifles hidden in a shipment of swimming-pool heating equipment that had just arrived on a flight from Miami. Pulse News Agency reported June 2 that the AK-47s and AR-10s were discovered in the cargo terminal of Rio's international airport. Photos of the haul showed weapons in the foam packaging they were flown in.

Advocates assail Argentina medical marijuana measure

Posted on April 10th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

medical marijuanaThe medical marjuana advocacy organization Mamá Cultiva, which has been campaigning on the issue across South America, is criticizing the new measure just passed by Argentina's Senate for failing to legalize personal cultivation. The Senate voted unanimously on March 29 to legalize cannabis oil and other derivatives for medical purposes. Talking Drugs blog reports that the bill is set to become law immediately upon receiving President Mauricio Macri's signature, as it was already passed by the lower-house Chamber of Deputies in November. Under the law, patients must register with a planned national program to be overseen by the Ministry of Health.

Brazil: yet another narco-fueled prison massacre

Posted on January 17th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

BrazilYet another deadly prison riot is reported from Brazil. This time, rival gangs clashed for control of a pavilion at Alcaçuz State Penitentiary, in the northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte. The riot began early Jan. 14; police surrounded the prison that night, but waited until noon the next day to enter due to reports that rebel inmates had armed themselves. At press time, the state’s military police and elite Special Operations Batallion are trying to negotiate the surrender of the inmates, according to Brazilian news blog Plus55. The state government has confirmed at least 10 deaths, but the number is expected to rise—Reuters already puts it as high as 30. Some of the victims are said to have been decapitated.

Brazil: 60 dead in narco-fueled prison massacre

Posted on January 3rd, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

BrazilA New Year's Day prison riot in Brazil's Amazon riverport city of Manaus left up to 60 dead before aithorities re-established control the following morning—with many of the bodies decapitated, mutilated and burned. The uprising at the Anisio Jobim Penitentiary Complex (COMPAJ) is the bloodiest of several such episodes in recent years, pointing to extreme overcrowding in Brazil's prison system and effective control of many facilities by drug gangs. Authorities in Amazonas state say the COMPAJ rebellion was sparked by a fight between rival gangs. Local media reported that several of the dead had their decapitated bodies thrown over the prison wall. Twelve  guards were taken hostage, and a still undetermined number of inmates escaped.

Pro-legalization mayor defeated in Rio de Janeiro

Posted on November 1st, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

BrazilRio de Janeiro's pro-legalization mayoral candidate Marcelo Freixo was defeated in the Oct. 30 run-off by the conservative Marcelo Crivella—a bishop in the evangelical Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. Crivella, who won by a safe 20%, is also nephew of the founder of what Reuters calls the "evangelical megachurch." He had to back down from his past criticisms of homosexuality in gay-friendly Rio—as well as of Catholicism, Brazil's dominant religion. With the country still reeling over the August impeachment of president Dilma Rousseff of the left-wing Workers Party (PT), the race in Rio represents a further gain for Brazil's political right.

Rio de Janeiro to get pro-legalization mayor?

Posted on October 11th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

BrazilLeft-wing populist candidate Marcelo Freixo made it past the first round in the race for mayor of Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 2, and now goes on to face an ultra-conservative rival in a run-off at the end of the month. In recent days, drug legalization has emerged as a key issue in the race. Freixo, of the Socialism and Freedom Party (POSL), is currently chair of the Human Rights Defense Commission of Rio de Janiero state's Legislative Assembly. He is now running against evangelical senator Marcelo Crivella of the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB) for the mayoralty. But another right-wing contender bounced out in the first round, Flávio Bolsonaro of the Social Christian Party (PSC), has thrown his support to Crivella—and is attempting to use the drug stigma against Freixo, exploiting his call for legalization as a means to de-escalate Rio's violent gang wars.

Deadly underside of Rio Olympics

Posted on September 1st, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , .

BrazilWith the Rio de Janeiro Olympics over, the world media are moving on—but the city's poor favela dwellers are left to contend with a wave of murderous police terror. This was launched a year ago as part of an effort to pacify and sanitize the sprawling megalopolis for the Games. Amnesty International reports that over 100 people have been killed by police in Rio de Janeiro state so far this year—the big majority young Black men. A total of 307 were killed by police in the state in 2015. At least eight people in Rio were actually killed by police during the Games—to little media coverage. The clean-up operation was, of course, disguised as a crackdown on drugs and crime. The inevitable rationale was provided by the narco economy in the favelas—informal urban settlements virtually abandoned by the government for anything other than militarized law enforcement.

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