United Nations Releases 2017 World Drug Report

Today, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its 2017 World Drug Report, stating: “Cannabis production remains a global phenomenon!”

The report is divided into two categories of plant-based drugs: the flowering tops of the cannabis plant, AKA “cannabis,” and the condensed hashish oil, referred to as “resin.” Global cannabis users have reached a median of 183 million people, roughly 3.8 percent of the global population.

According to the report, cannabis plant cultivation was present in 135 countries, between 2010 – 2015, covering 92 percent of the world population. Given the absence of systematic measurements, however, the extent and trends in cannabis cultivation and production are difficult to assess. Most indirect indicators come from law enforcement authorities and, to a certain extent, reflect their priorities and resources.

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Mexico Legalized Medical Marijuana—Heres Exactly What That Means

American exceptionalism is strong, for none of the right reasons. As of Monday, the United States is the only country in North America where the federal government believes cannabis can in no circumstances be medicine.

Since 2013, Canada’s health authority has offered federal licenses to medical marijuana cultivators and providers, who can then provide cannabis to qualified patients without any of the risk or legal gray areas seen in America.

Mexico’s Health Ministry is now poised to follow suit, after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed an executive a decree on Monday legalizing medical marijuana in the country.

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How Canada and Uruguay Are Challenging International Pot Laws

Photo by Vortex Farmacy. 

President Donald Trump and his Canadian counterpart, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have more in common than a Mad Men-level iron grip. Both world leaders have proven willing to buck the international order and be North American mavericks: Trump, on climate change; Trudeau, on legalizing weed.

On June 1, Trump announced the United States’ impending exit from the Paris Climate Agreement, a move the New York Times called a “remarkable rebuke” to the rest of the world, as well as an exercise in pure denial. (Meanwhile, on Monday, as a record-setting deadly heatwave descended on most of the western United States, Energy Secretary Rick Perry went on CNBC to deny any link between carbon emissions and an undeniable, drastic shift in temperatures.)

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Touch Drugs, Go to Prison: Cops Use DNA to Bust Alleged Dealer

Last October, police in Milton Keynes, a district just north of London, were searching in the bushes along one of the area’s many bike and pedestrian paths. 

In one bush, they found a package containing 15.82 grams of cocaine and 10.3 grams of heroin.

Two months later, police arrested Darren Levy. Last week, the 35-year old was sentenced to five years in jail for possession with intent to distribute—despite not being anywhere near the drugs in question.

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Does North Korea Have a More Tolerant Pot Policy than South Korea?

Well, absolutely not, but you could be forgiven for thinking so, based on a cursory review of recent headlines.

Although it hasn’t made much of splash stateside, the big news in South Korea this week is the “marijuana scandal” surrounding a singer from the suggestively named K-pop boy-band Big Bang, who goes by the stage-name T.O.P.

He could face five years in the slammer after a hair follicle test by the Seoul Metropolitan Police yielded positive results for cannabis. He was fingered for the test after a young woman busted for “liquid marijuana” (presumably some kind of extract) named him as the supplier, according to Korea Portal.

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Kurdish Guerrillas Behind Turkey’s Hashish Trade?

Photo by Justin Cannabis. 

Security forces in southeastern Turkey, where authorities have been waging a brutal counter-insurgency war against Kurdish guerrillas, reported the seizure last week of 2,290 kilograms of hashish and 6,632 kilograms of unprocessed cannabis “in an operation against the drug activities of the PKK terrorist organization.”

The operation took place in five villages of the conflicted Diyarbakır province, with seven suspects taken into custody. Authorities said hundreds of local residents were questioned at checkpoints established across the area. This led to the location of what were described as two “safe houses” and one cave used by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas, where the hash and pot was found along with rifles, ammunition, homemade explosives, supplies and PKK documents.

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Thai Police Seize 1.2 Million Methamphetamine Tablets

BANGKOK (AP) — Thai police said Monday they have seized more than 1 million methamphetamine tablets this month, as trade in the illicit drug shows little sign of abating.

The Narcotic Suppression Bureau displayed 1.21 million methamphetamine tablets and 17 kilograms (37.4 pounds) of crystal methamphetamine it seized as it made arrests in four separate cases.

The biggest seizure came last Thursday at a police checkpoint in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, about 240 kilometers (150 miles) south of Bangkok. Police said the arrested men admitted transporting 910,000 tablets destined for the southern Thai provinces of Songklha and Hat Yai.

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U.S. Guns Reportedly Shipped to Brazilian Narco-Gangs

Amid 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 which had just arrived on a flight from Miami. 

Pulse News Agency recently reported 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.

Rio’s narco-gangs are obviously gearing up for a real war for control of the favelas (informal slum districts) where they operate.

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Philippines: Protests Against Martial Law

Protests are emerging in the Philippine against ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte‘s declaration of martial law in the southern island of Mindanao last month. Over 100 former and current lawmakers, religious leaders and activists gathered in Manila for an interfaith rally on Sunday, the Philippines’ Independence Day, demanding an end to the official suspension of basic democratic rights in Mindanao.

“A regime that trades Filipinos’ human rights for vague, ever-moving law and order goals can only add fuel to armed rebellions and set back efforts to address the roots of the conflict,” the group’s statement said. “It is the poor that bear the brunt of these wars. It is the poor that are killed. It is their rights that are violated. It is their communities that are subject to aerial bombings and abuses during military and police operations.”

The May 23 martial law declaration—to last 60 days, with potential for renewal—is ostensibly in response to an ISIS-linked terrorist group. But rights advocates fear it gives Duterte’s security forces an even freer hand in his murderous war on low-level drug dealers and users—said to have already claimed 7,000 lives since he was inaugurated last June.

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Colombia: New Push to Resume Glyphosate Spraying

A new ruling by Colombia’s top court may open the way for a resumption of glyphosate spraying to wipe out coca crops, which was suspended in 2015 due to health concerns—in defiance of much pressure from Washington.

In the May 25 decision, a two-judge panel of the Constitutional Court did order that the suspension of the fumigation program be continued. But it also ordered the government to conduct a “prior consultation” with campesino communities to establish acceptable terms for spraying. 

Ironically, the case was brought by the municipality of Nóvita, in the Pacific coastal region of Chocó, back before the program had been suspended. The Afro-Colombian peasants of Nóvita charged that the spraying was poisoning their lands and waters and demanded it be halted.

Read more at High Times