Eradication

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South Pacific: Sympathy for Marijuana Growers in Vanuatu

A recent National Drug Squad raid on Malekula, part of the 80-island New Hebrides archipelago that makes up the country of Vanuatu, has led at least one member of parliament to say that harsh economic conditions justify the growing of marijuana by community members. In the raid in question, police rounded up 20 villagers and took them to jail in the capital, Port Vila. Police also seized 40 bags of freshly harvested marijuana.

In reaction to the raid, MP Donna Browny, who represents Malekula, told Radio New Zealand that people are justified in planting marijuana to earn money for their children's school fees when the copra price is down and the government has not found an alternative commodity to replace it. Browny urged leniency for the villagers, saying they planted pot instead of coconut trees because they needed the money.

Browny's is the first voice in opposition to the rising clamor from local law enforcement and some nonprofit groups in the Connecticut-sized archipelago of some 200,000 people. Vanuatu police took advantage of the annual Law Week last week to warn that marijuana growing and use is on the rise. "Vanuatu is lucky, yet, because at this stage we haven't come across a case of hard drug consumption like cocaine or opium but with the current trend there is a risk," a drug squad spokesman told the audience at a cannabis awareness session, according to an account in the Vanuatu News.

The association of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Vanuatu, VANGO, was raising similar concerns a week earlier. Marijuana use is on the rise and so is use among young people, warned VANGO spokesman Henry Vira. "Every week there is young people being arrested for the use of marijuana or possession and cultivation of the plant," he told Radio New Zealand.

The police want more resources for law enforcement. The NGOs want increased drug treatment and substance education. The marijuana growers and smokers undoubtedly just want to be left alone.

California Seizes Record Number of Pot Plants

Localização: 
CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Associated Press
URL: 
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/states/california/northern_california/15888009.htm

Bush: Stay the Course in Colombia

President Bush never tires of spending our tax dollars losing not winning various wars. Now he wants to give Colombia another $600 million International Herald Tribune reports.

Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns calls it a strategy adjustment:

"In any counterterrorism or counter-narcotics campaign you sometimes have to adjust strategy to be effective as conditions change," Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns told reporters in Bogota, announcing the White House was seeking to maintain current levels of support for its caretaker in the war on drugs through 2008. "We'll be open to any suggestions the Colombian government makes."


I think what he meant to say was that we refuse to adjust our strategy and we’re not open to suggestions. And what does he mean "as conditions change"? Nothing's changed since Plan Colombia began eight years ago . That’s the problem.

Meanwhile the police we trained with the last $600 million are getting killed systematically. Sound familiar?


Localização: 
United States

Rumsfeld Urged to Change Afghan Drug Trade Policy

Localização: 
Washington, DC
United States
Publication/Source: 
USA Today
URL: 
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-10-23-drug-trade-policy_x.htm

Afghanistan's Opium Production 'Soaring Out of Control,' UN Agency Warns

Localização: 
Afghanistan
Publication/Source: 
Associated Press
URL: 
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/10/17/news/UN_GEN_UN_Opium_Production.php

Opium Production in Golden Triangle Drops 29% in 2006: UNODC

Localização: 
Publication/Source: 
Xinhua
URL: 
http://english.people.com.cn/200610/13/eng20061013_311577.html

"We'll need grinders and large bongs"

From CNN.com

Canadian troops fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan have stumbled across an unexpected and potent enemy -- almost impenetrable forests of marijuana plants 10 feet tall.

General Rick Hillier, chief of the Canadian defense staff, said Thursday that Taliban fighters were using the forests as cover.

Awesome! But it gets better:

"We tried burning them with white phosphorous -- it didn't work. We tried burning them with diesel -- it didn't work. The plants are so full of water right now ... that we simply couldn't burn them," he said.

Even successful incineration had its drawbacks.

"A couple of brown plants on the edges of some of those [forests] did catch on fire. But a section of soldiers that was downwind from that had some ill effects and decided that was probably not the right course of action," Hillier said dryly.

This sounds like a job for my college buddies. If the problem persists, I’d be willing to assemble a tactical unit with experience disposing of surplus cannabis.

Localização: 
United States

US Curtails Anti-Cocaine Effort in Colombia

Localização: 
Colombia
Publication/Source: 
Associated Press
URL: 
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/bal-te.colombia12oct12,0,2660845.story?coll=bal-nationworld-headlines

The Chronicle plans a trip to the Andes

Snowflakes are falling in the Dakotas today. With winter coming to the High Plains, it's a good time to be thinking about heading south, and that's just what I intend to do in a few weeks, probably in early January. Thanks to a targeted gift from an individual donor (the same guy who financed my Afghanistan trip last year), I will be heading to Bolivia and Peru to report on the status of the Andean drug war. Colombia is currently the largest coca producer in the world, but Peru and Bolivia are second and third. They are also the historic heartland of traditional coca production by the indigenous people of the Andes, which makes them more interesting from the cultural perspective. With limited funds, I could not visit all three countries, and having already set foot in Colombia, this time I will focus on Peru and Bolivia. Thanks in part to our hemispheric anti-prohibitionist work around the Merida Out From the Shadows conference, DRCNet and the Chronicle are fairly well-connected already in both countries. One of friends, Peruvian coca grower leader Nancy Obregon, is now a member of the Peruvian congress. I hope to be able to visit Nancy's home and fields to see the coca crops first-hand. I've also been talking to a pair of Peruvian academics, Hugo Cabieses and Baldomero Caceres--more folks we know from that conference. In Bolivia, Kathy Ledebur of the Andean Information Network has pledged to help out in setting up interviews and outings. I've also been in contact with the Bolivian Embassy in Washington and will be going over to talk to them when I'm in DC for the SSDP conference next month. The Bolivian Embassy is very friendly; maybe I can even wrangle an interview with President Morales himself. This will be a three-week trip. Right now, I'm thinking I'll fly to Lima, spend two weeks wandering around Peru, then go overland from Cuzco (I'm not going to Peru without seeing Macchu Picchu!) to Bolivia and spend a week there. If anyone has questions they want answered down south or has suggestions for people to talk to, comment here. I'll be checking back.
Localização: 
United States

US Worries Opium From Afghanistan Will Enter US Market

Localização: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Voice of America
URL: 
http://voanews.com/english/2006-10-08-voa26.cfm

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