South America

Thu
19
Jul

Grenade-shaped grinder causes airport evacuation in Argentina

Who thought it would be a good idea to bring anything weapon-shaped to the airport?

An Argentine airport was evacuated Tuesday after a suspected explosive device was discovered at the facility. But when the bomb squad arrived to investigate the object, they determined that it was actually a cannabis grinder designed to resemble a hand grenade. The incident occurred at the Astor Piazzolla airport in Mar del Plata, a seaside city about 250 miles southeast of the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. Alehandro Itzcovich, the chief of national airport security in Argentina, told local media that he believed that the pot grinder had been left at the airport by a departing passenger.

Thu
19
Jul

Uruguay marks a year allowing pharmacies to sell marijuana

Enrique Curbelo is delighted. Selling cannabis has allowed the affable 76-year-old to keep his privately owned pharmacy in Montevideo open in a market dominated by big chains. "I had to sell what they didn't sell," he told AFP. "For me it's like selling aspirin."

It's been this way for a year now. Every Wednesday, Ismael Fernandez receives a WhatsApp message from his local pharmacist telling him a new stock of cannabis has arrived.

After leaving work, he heads there and buys the 10 grams that Uruguayan law permits, costing 400 pesos, around $13. Fernandez then heads home and rolls a joint "to relax" with his partner Stefania Fabricio.

Mon
16
Jul

Brazil is mulling over marijuana legalization

The largest country in South America is mulling over marijuana legalization. Earlier this week, Brazil's socialist Worker's Party has introduced a bill that would legalized medical as well as recreational cannabis in the South American country. And while support for legalization is high among voters, the opposition to marijuana reform remains strong in Brazil, writes Calvin Hughes.

Mon
02
Jul

Is Cannabis an exporting opportunity for Jamaica?

A couple of years ago, the previous government of Jamaica passed a law decriminalizing carrying up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use.

The current government wants to go well beyond that, not necessarily to encourage its people to get stoned, but to develop, in the words of one official, “a major industrial enterprise in Jamaica.”

Audley Shaw, Jamaica’s minister of commerce, industry, agriculture, and fisheries (Image: Peter Buxbaum)

Ganja has suffered from a stigma, especially among those who would discourage the use of psychoactive substances, but, said Jamaica’s minister of commerce, industry, agriculture, and fisheries Audley Shaw, “it has more good qualities than bad.”

Fri
29
Jun

Jamaican government official says marijuana is a 'birthright'

Many people know about the connection between Jamaica and marijuana, but now one government official is ardently making the case that cannabis is important for his people, writes Joseph Misulonas.

Wed
20
Jun

Five years after legalization, Uruguay faces cannabis supply problems

According to local reports, Uruguay faces cannabis supply problems five years after the government legalized the plant.

Five years after legalizing marijuana, Uruguay is facing cannabis supply problems. The South American country was the first nation to legalize marijuana in 2013. But legal sales of cannabis began just last year. The law allows registered consumers to purchase up to 40 grams (nearly 1.5 ounces) of cannabis at participating pharmacies each month. But so far, only 14 of approximately 1,200 pharmacies in the country have registered to sell cannabis.

Wed
13
Jun

Laying down the law with cannabis

Cannabis, known locally as ganja, originated as a remedial herb and gained prominence in ancient medicine for centuries. Despite its extensive history, for decades it has been classified as a dangerous drug in the eyes of international regulatory bodies and legislation.

This includes the United Nations (UN) and World Health Organization (WHO), where cannabis is characterised as a narcotic drug in the three major drug control conventions:

• The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961

• The Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971

• The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988.

Wed
13
Jun

Uruguay struggling to meet demand for legal marijuana

Laura Andrade recently walked out of a pharmacy in Uruguay cursing loudly because she couldn't buy legal pot.

The wine sommelier had taken a bus since pharmacies in her neighborhood don't sell the drug, but a pharmacy employee told her to come back the next day. "I work, I can't come here every day," she complained. "Today, I'll have to buy from an illegal dealer. I have no choice. This system is crap. It's useless!"

Marijuana went on sale in Uruguay last year under a 2013 law that made it the first nation to legalize a pot market covering the entire chain from plants to purchase. But the country is still working out how to meet demand in its effort to undercut drug traffickers who control the black market.

Fri
08
Jun

Ministry of Health establishes medicinal cannabis unit in Jamaica

THE Ministry of Health has established a Medicinal Cannabis Unit (MCU) as part of measures to facilitate the medical marijuana industry's development in Jamaica.

This was disclosed in a Ministry Paper tabled by Portfolio Minister Dr Christopher Tufton in the House of Representatives on June 5.

To date, the MCU has registered approximately 61 medicinal cannabis products, manufactured locally and overseas.

The Ministry Paper informed that permits for locally manufactured products must be obtained from the Cannabis Licensing Authority and Pharmacy Council.

It added that without the permits, companies supplying registered products have no choice but to import these for local distribution.

Fri
04
May

Colombia sees billion-dollar bonanza from legacy of marijuana trade

Tired of living in fear of arrest or running afoul of drug traffickers, Romairo Aguirre is ready to destroy his illegal plantation of 1,500 marijuana bushes in the mountainous Cauca region of southwest Colombia and become legitimate.

Like many of the farmers who grow cannabis near the town of Corinto, Aguirre hopes President Juan Manuel Santos’ plan to turn Colombia into a major producer of medical marijuana means he can find work from one of a dozen companies launching in the South American nation.

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