Southern Cone

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.

Paraguay: drug czar steps down after deadly anti-cannabis op

Posted on June 23rd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Southern Cone Paraguay's top anti-drug official stepped down June 20, two days after a botched anti-cannabis operation left a three-year-old girl dead at the hands of his troops. Luis Rojas resigned as head of the National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD), under apparent pressure from President Horacio Cartes. The deadly operation took place in Nueva Italia municipality of Central department, where SENAD troops searching for cannabis plantations apparently fired on a van—which proved to be carrying members of the Zanotti Cavazzoni family, owners of a local sugar plantation and mill. The girl's uncle was also wounded in the attack. The girl was the grand-daughter of Ulrico Zanotti Cavazzoni, local sugar oligarch and land-owner. One wonders if Rojas would have been forced to resign if it had just been a peasant's daughter who was killed.

Uruguay marks first legal cannabis harvest

Posted on June 22nd, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

Uruguay The two companies responsible for cannabis production in Uruguay this week began the country's first legal harvest, claiming some 300 grams each from hundreds of plants gown in licensed indoor or greenhouse operations. The president of the National Drug Board (JND), Juan Andrés Roballo, announced that "soon the first harvest from the licensed companies" will be hitting the nation's pharamcies. The companies, International Cannabis Corp (ICCorp) and Simbiosys, with facilities on the outskirts of Montevideo, planted in February under the close oversight of the government's Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA). The harvest will continue next week; then another six weeks for drying, manicuring and packing before it arrives in stores. This means by August, Uruguayans will be able to purchase packets of five or 10 grams at 50 licensed pharmacies. The price is set at one euro or $1.20 per gram.

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