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Friday, January 6, 2017

World News for January 2017 - by Rachel Bunting

'Godfather of Grass' Arrested

Canada: John Robert “Johnny” Boone, also known as the “Godfather of Grass”, has been on the run for eight years after fleeing his farm in Kentucky shortly before a raid. Authorities in the US have been looking for Boone since the discovery of 2,400 marijuana plants on his property in Kentucky. Last month he was caught in a small town outside of Montreal. The Godfather of Grass is 73 years old and has already spent more than a decade in prison after a 1980 conviction found Boone guilty of owning 29 marijuana farms in 9 states. Prosecutors in that case called Boone the leaders of the “largest marijuana syndicate in American history.” Currently the grower is in jail awaiting extradition to the US.

High Heir 

Italy: A member of a prominent family in Italy, Duke Andrea Odescalchi, was arrested last month after he was found growing marijuana in his family’s ancestral castle. The Carabinieri, or paramilitary police, found 114 grams of ready-to-sell marijuana and 7 grams of hash. In Odescalchi’s homemade greenhouse, officers found 35 plants, each around one meter in height. The castle was built in the 16th century to defend the Italian capital, but has more recently been used as a wedding venue. Odescalchi was placed under house arrest and is accused of “possession and manufacture of narcotic substances with a view to their sale.”

Roadside Drug Testing

Italy: The new Road Traffic Bill 2016 was passed last month in Italy. The bill allows Gardai the right to begin Mandatory Intoxication Testing (MIT) for alcohol and drugs. The measures outlined in the bill allow officers to conduct preliminary tests for marijuana, cocaine, heroin, morphine, and a range of benzodiazepines. The Minister for Transport, Tourism, and Sport, Shane Ross, stated, “The new powers given to the Gardaí to test for drugs at the roadside will allow them to test for a wide range of drugs which could not be previously tested for.  These represent 95% of all drugs found by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety in samples sent to it for confirmatory testing in 2015. Drivers taking opiates and benzodiazepines prescribed by their doctors, [who are taking these prescribed drugs in accordance with their prescriptions, and are not impaired], have nothing to fear from the new measures.  However, drivers abusing drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, benzodiazepines and opiate and driving while impaired will face a minimum disqualification of 4 years for their first offence and 6 years for their second and subsequent offence.” The Road Traffic Bill also allows county councils to set speed limits to 20 kph in certain areas if they see fit.

Largest Legal Grow Operation Breaks Ground

Alberta, Canada: Aurora Cannabis Inc. has broken ground in Leduc County to begin building what they hope to be the largest legal cannabis growing operation in the world. Aurora is building an 800,000 sq. ft. facility on nearly 30 acres of land. The project, called Aurora Sky, will be the largest, most advanced and most automated cannabis production facility, and will be capable for producing more than 100,000 kg of marijuana per year. President of the company, Steve Dobler, stated, “Our objectives are very clear: to build the largest production capacity, with the highest production quality and the lowest production cost.” The company expects the greenhouse to be functional by October of this year.

Benefits of Medicinal Cannabis

New Zealand: Elyse Johnson is a 3 year old girl from New Zealand who was diagnosed with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a large brainstem tumor, almost nine months ago. Elyse has never been able to walk or even bend her legs, until she was prescribed Sativex. Sativex is a mouth spray made from marijuana extracts, usually prescribed to patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. After being on the Sativex for four weeks, Elyse has begun being able to bend her legs. This is a miracle to her family who were told she had less than a year to live. Her mother is hopeful the medication will help shrink the tumor, and the family is currently accepting donations to fly Elyse to Australia for a complicated surgery to completely remove the tumor from her brain.

Synthetic Pot Comes to Nigeria

Nigeria: A news article released from Nigeria last month warns marijuana smokers of fake cannabis circulating the streets. claims the marijuana substitute is coming from Chinese factories and contains unsafe, harmful chemicals. While synthetic marijuana has been flooding the US for years now, Nigeria is just starting to experience the undesired effects of the spice in their country. The article warns synthetic cannabis can bring on temporary fits of psychosis, be more addictive than true cannabis, and can cause unwanted chemical reactions in the brain. Smokers in the country have been warned that while smoking marijuana may be illegal, smoking the fake strain could be deadly.

Nine Months for Seven Grams

Somalia: A 20 year old man from Somalia was arrested and sentenced to nine months in prison after officers found his fingerprints on 5 baggies located in a field. Officers first noticed the man when he dropped 6 packets off his person near a field. He then gathered the bags and walked into the nearby field where he appeared to pick something up and walk off. Police later searched the area with the help of drug dogs and discovered the five baggies with the suspect’s fingerprints on them. The man claims he went into the field to relieve himself, but his explanation did not sway the court. The Magistrate sentenced the man and considered the police to have conducted a clean investigation.

Seven Charged After Smoking Hash in Bar

Korea: Two foreign workers and five international students were arrested and charged with using and selling hash in the Daegu Metropolitan area. The two workers are believed to have smuggled the hash in from other countries, such as the Philippines or Egypt, after realizing airport security does not detect the drug inside luggage. The five students, however, were caught smoking the illegal substance at clubs in Itaewon, Seoul, and Dalseo-gu, Daegu. Police are continuing their investigation, hoping to find the top of the smuggling chain.


  1. Thanks Ben. I saw that the governor of Vermont just woke-up, smelled the coffee, and did the honest thing:

    Judges and Cops need to get jobs other than prosecuting innocent people who grow, smoke and promote the benefits of marijuana. That is the big problem (pointed out to me by John Sinclair) what to do with the numerous "law-fare cheats" who make a spanking good living spearing low lying fish -- our marijuana using friends -- trying them, sentencing them and housing them -- destroying freedoms.
    Onward all of us. Keep the flag at half mast for Godfather of Grass. -- Jerome Poynton, Athens, Greece

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