Rome police bust massive marijuana plantation under Bank of Italy
By Tom Kington, The Guardian
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:02 EDT
Tipped off by the strong smell wafting into a suburban street, police in Rome have discovered a massive underground marijuana plantation in a disused railway tunnel built by Mussolini.
Police seized 340kg of marijuana – with a street value of €3m (£2.36m) – from the plantation, which was lit by powerful halogen lamps and hidden behind a legitimate mushroom-growing business at the entrance to the tunnel. A fake wall had been built with revolving breeze blocks to conceal the marijuana plants.
The scale of the 4,000m³ plantation, which contained 1,000 plants, a drying room for harvested plants and a vacuum-packing machine, has led investigators to suspect one of Italy‘s mafia groups was behind it – possibly the Neapolitan Camorra.
“We wore masks when we entered in to stop our heads spinning, I have never seen anything like it,” said Stefano Corsi of Italy’s tax police, which mounted the raid.
Built in the 1930s under the Tor Pignattara neighbourhood and close to underground vaults used by the Bank of Italy, the 800m stretch of tunnel was part of Mussolini’s redevelopment of Rome, but was never used due to the outbreak of the second world war.
Entering the tunnel, police found the floor littered with plastic discs that snapped loudly underfoot – a rudimentary warning system for those inside. Police sniffer dogs were then pulled out of the tunnel as the growing smell of hundreds of plants became too strong for them.
“The high temperatures recently probably made the smell more intense,” said one police official.
The owner of the mushroom-growing business was arrested, but no one was found working in the plantation, although police found masks, gloves, overalls and written instructions on how to manage the complex watering system used for the plants.
[Cannabis via Shutterstock]
10 Years to Life for Medical Marijuana
Facebook agrees to run marijuana legalization ads
By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, August 13, 2012 18:22 EDT
Facebook has agreed to run marijuana legalization ads after being confronted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU of Northern California.
The social networking giant had refused to run the ads of multiple organizations because they showed marijuana leaves.
“Platforms like Facebook that are designed to facilitate communication should not get into the business of censorship, which is the opposite of innovating, connecting, and sharing,” Linda Lye of the ACLU said on Monday. “The good news is that once alerted to the problem by the ACLU and EFF, Facebook immediately did the right thing.”
The publisher of “Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?” hoped to use a Facebook ad to promote a special price being offered to celebrate the book’s success, but their proposed ad was denied last year. In a message sent to the publisher, Facebook said that the “content advertised by this ad is prohibited” because the popular website does “not allow ads for marijuana and any products related to it.”
Facebook also refused to run ads for the marijuana law reform group Just Say Now and the Libertarian Party in 2010 because the ads contained marijuana leaves.
“The image of a marijuana leaf is classified with all smoking products and therefore is not acceptable under our policies,” a spokesman for Facebook explained.
Just Say Now had tried to run marijuana legalization ads again in 2012, only to be denied, which prompted the ACLU and EFF to speak with Facebook on their behalf. The ads urged voters to make marijuana legalization a campaign issue.
[Marijuana leaf via Shutterstock]
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