The world at a glance . . . Americas
Pot growers win: The Canadian government does not have a monopoly on medical marijuana, an appellate court ruled this week. The government had argued in the case that keeping a monopoly on legal pot was the only way to ensure a safe and reliable supply for medical purposes. But the court upheld a lower court ruling that loosened the government’s control over pot growing, allowing private growers to sell to patients. In briefs to the court, patients had argued that they weren’t always able to get the right strain of pot from the government and were forced to buy weed on the street. Medical marijuana is used to treat symptoms of cancer, HIV/AIDS, arthritis, and other diseases.
Drug cartels buy off police: Two Mexican drug officials were arrested this week for passing information to a drug cartel in return for millions of dollars. The officials were members of the SIEDO, the Mexican equivalent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. They were responsible for investigating the Beltran Leyva drug cartel—the organization that allegedly had them on its payroll with payments of up to half a million dollars a month. The two were caught after a member of Beltran Leyva turned himself into the Mexican Embassy in Washington, where he was put into a U.S. witness protection program. “This investigation isn’t over,” said Mexico Attorney General Eduardo Medina-Mora.
Hostage escapes: A Colombian politician escaped from the FARC rebel group this week when one of his captors defected. Oscar Tulio Lizcano, an economist and member of Congress, had been held for eight years in Colombia’s jungles, where his kidnappers kept him in almost total isolation. He said he stayed sane by talking to sticks he stuck in the ground. “I gave them names and they were my students,” he said. “I gave lectures on the history of the First World War.” The rebel who helped him escape, Wilson Bueno, said he acted because, years ago, Lizcano had helped his family get housing. Bueno will receive a $400,000 reward and asylum in France.