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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

World News for November 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

Cyprus Customs Cannabis RingCyprus: Four men were taken into custody for eight days in Limassol when police found three men in possession of 20kg of cannabis. A 32 year old man had recently been put under surveillance after officers received a tip that a large amount of drugs would be moved. The 32 year old was seen getting into a vehicle with another man and followed to the residence of a 26 year old. The men began moving boxes from the home into the vehicle when officers closed in. They found 3 boxes were found to carry a total of 20 individual bags of cannabis weighing one kilo each. Once arrested the men began pointing fingers at one another, each claiming to know nothing about the contents of the boxes. Two of the men are customs agents while the third is “good friends” with another customs agent. Investigators have reason to believe this could be a drug ring with more customs agents involved.

Fishin' for PotLibya: Four men from Syria were arrested last month off the coast of Libya by Egyptian naval forces. The men were found to have a large amount of marijuana on their fishing vessel. They were stopped on a routine coastline search, as an act to counter smuggling, which have been intensified in
the last few months. A laptop, satellite phone, and 1.6 tons of marijuana were confiscated when the men were taken into custody. The suspects have been detained to be questioned about the origin and destination of the illegal haul.

Window JumperDublin: A Chinese national who was arrested last year for growing marijuana in a Dublin city center apartment had his appeal dismissed last month. At the time of his arrest, Nianje He was found with 126 marijuana plants in various stages of growth. When officers first encountered him at his apartment, He threw himself out of the second story kitchen window to attempt avoiding arrest. He appealed the three and a half year sentence imposed on him by the court, but the Court of Appeals agreed with the initial ruling stating that his sentence was not excessive pertaining to the charges, though they did credit him six weeks off his current sentence. He began cultivating marijuana to pay his gambling debts and claimed he had no other options, but the court feels gambling debts was not an excuse.

Higher Unemployment Rates Lead to Increasing Illegal TradeGhana: The extremely high unemployment rate in the Kpalime traditional area has caused many of the youth to find work with the South Dayi district’s illegal drug trade. Torgbui Adaz Wiah Kwesi II, the acting Paramount Chief of Kpalime, has stated, “We have identified youth unemployment as one key social risk within the Kpalime traditional area. The risk is gradually developing into alarming proportions. There is the wild belief that South Dayi district is a major haven for marijuana cultivation in Ghana.” He complained that the lack of employment opportunities has left young adults with no other options to provide a livelihood. Kwesi brought up this issue while imploring the government for help. He asked the Ghana government to not only provide an alternate livelihood for youth, but also to develop a water supply system for the area as there has recently been a water shortage. According to Kwesi, the problems were “due to system failures and regulatory breaches by law enforcement agencies.” A government official has yet to comment on the problems in Kpalime.

Marijuana Shroud Used in Ancient Chinese Burial

China: Cannabis plants have been found at burial sites all over the world, but recently archaeologists in northwest China found a uniquely large stash of well-preserved marijuana plants complete with roots. It is also the first (discovered) incidence in this area where the plants were used as a “shroud”. Archaeologists found the remains of a man, approximately 35 years-old, with Caucasian features who was laid out on a wooden bed with thirteen cannabis plants placed across his chest. The burial
occurred between 2,400 to 2,800 years ago, according to radiocarbon dating and was one of 240 sites that were excavated at the cemetery in Turpan. All around the area there have been gravesites that contain cannabis in some form or another. One site dating back to first millennium B.C. had the plants with a woman who may have suffered from breast cancer. Another nearby site, discovered nearly 10 years ago, contained two pounds of seeds and powdered leaves. This, however, is the first time fully grown cannabis plants have been found. Researchers suspect the plants were locally grown and mostly harvested before being put the grave. They also believe the plants in the area were grown for their psychoactive resin to be used for medicinal or ritual purposes as the seeds were too small for consumption and no hemp textiles were discovered in the region.

"We Should Not Need to be Dying to Access Cannabis"New Zealand: A new petition to legalize medical marijuana was presented to Parliament last month. The petition was organized and presented by Rose Renton, the mother of a teen who recently passed away due to mysterious seizures. Rose began giving her son, Alex, cannabis oil illegally before he was approved for Sativex, the only medically approved cannabis treatment. While speaking to Parliament about the bill, Rose addressed issues many people suffering from chronic pain are dealing with stating, “We should not need to be dying to access affordable cannabis.” She spoke about her son, her experiences with law enforcement, and finally about how the slow, drawn out process to get cannabis oil and approval for its use did little to help ease her sons suffering. Her petition will be considered by a parliamentary select committee. Currently, there is a Members Bill in the ballot, put forth by Labour MP Damien O’ Connor, which would make medical marijuana more accessible.

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