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Agus, not his real name, is part of a clandestine economy in the region at the tip of Sumatra which, despite its no-nonsense reputation, is Indonesia’s top weed-producer with fields covering an area nearly seven times the size of Singapore, according to official estimates.Pot was once so common in Aceh that locals grew it in their backyards and marijuana was sold to the public.But it was outlawed in the Seventies and Muslim majority Indonesia has since adopted some of the world’s strictest drug laws, including the death penalty for traffickers.The nation has declared itself in the midst of a drug “emergency” because of soaring methamphetamine use. Agus plunges a wooden paddle into his coffee and marijuana-filled wok, taking care to roast just the right mix of ingredients — and stay one step ahead of police in Indonesia’s Aceh province. His contraband brew is a hit with locals and buyers in other parts of the Southeast Asian archipelago, who pay 1.0 million rupiah ($75) for a kilo of it.But this is risky business in Aceh, where even drinking alcohol or kissing in public can earn you a painful whipping under its strict Islamic law. But the situation is Aceh is muddled. Police hunt weed farmers, imprison users and torch mountains of confiscated marijuana — more than 100 tons last year alone.Yet just last week a lawmaker from the province proposed in Parliament that the drug should be legalized, so the country could export it for pharmaceutical purposes. He was quickly reprimanded by his Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), while the national narcotics agency slammed the proposal claiming it would discourage Aceh ganja farmers from adopting its suggestions to switch to vegetables and other crops.Despite the risks, Agus, claims he has little fear of going to jail.”How can you ban something that’s everywhere?” he said, adding: “It’s all over Aceh. This huge crackdown just makes it rarer to see in public but people still use it.”Most days, his biggest concern is hitting the perfect ratio for his java — 70 percent coffee and 30 percent marijuana.”If you put more than 30 percent ganja in there then you lose the coffee taste,” he explained. For two decades Agus was a white collar professional but he swapped his prestigious career for a more lucrative trade in order to better support his family.”I wanted to focus on coffee because this is my area of expertise,” he added.Agus insists his recipe offers a pleasant, less intense high than smoking it or eating popular dodol ganja. The local specialty mixes marijuana with a fudgy sweet made from glutinous rice, palm sugar and coconut milk. “That stuff can really make you hallucinate,” Agus said.How marijuana became a thing in Aceh is a matter of debate. Some say it was brought by Dutch colonists hundreds of years ago as a gift for a sultan in the jungle-clad region.But local historian Tarmizi Abdul Hamid counters that marijuana use — for everything from medicine and cooking to repelling pests from crops and preserving food — can be found in manuscripts that pre-date the Dutch arrival.”It shows that ganja can be used to cure baldness or high blood pressure,” he said of one text. “Ganja was also used for cooking and medicine. Smoking, however, is not mentioned in the ancient scriptures,” he added.Centuries later, marijuana was on the front lines — literally — of a separatist insurgency in Aceh.Former weed farmer Fauzan remembers harvesting his crop when bullets started flying across his field in a shootout between government soldiers and rebels back in 2002, three years before a peace deal ended the bloody conflict.Fauzan estimates that some 80 percent of the people in his hometown Lamteuba, about 50 kilometers from provincial capital Banda Aceh, were once ganja farmers.Locals in the one-time rebel stronghold created secret pathways to their lucrative crops and even built hiding places to stash their weed harvest in a cat-and-mouse game with authorities.”This village is like heaven. Whatever you plant here it’ll grow,” Fauzan said. “Throw a ganja seed on the ground, leave it and then come back for the harvest.”But, fearing arrest, he later quit the trade.Fauzan, who now grows chilies to support his family, works with the government to convince farmers to switch to vegetables and other crops. That’s a hard sell in an impoverished village with few job opportunities.”If the government doesn’t take care of people and supply assistance, they’re likely to go back to their old routine,” Fauzan acknowledged.For pot enthusiast Iqbal — not his real name — the only thing prohibition has done is make locals better at hiding pot in a cup of coffee or plate of noodles.He mused: “It’s impossible to get rid of ganja in Aceh. Cracking down on meth by destroying a lab is easier. But when police destroy a ganja plantation, it’ll just grow somewhere else.”Topics :
CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher.NEW figures have revealed more than 20,000 properties were for sale across Brisbane.According to CoreLogic data, stock levels were tight in many capital cities, but a few more properties were making their way onto the market nationally.Research analyst Cameron Kusher said typically the number of properties advertised for sale in spring climbed as vendors took advantage of the warmer climate and improved weather.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus23 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market23 hours agoHe measured the amount of advertised stock on the market on a rolling 28 day basis and said nationally they were tracking 226,007 properties advertised for sale – which was 5.3 per cent lower than a year ago.“Across the combined capital cities, total stock advertised for sale is one per cent higher than it was a year ago with 110,909 properties advertised over the past 28 days,’’ Mr Kusher said.Mr Kusher said looking at what was available across capital cities for this time of year, there was more stock for sale than there had been each year since 2013.What was on offer in regional markets was substantially lower than it had been in recent years.In Brisbane, the number of properties advertised for sale was 2.5 per cent higher than a year ago with 20,611 properties currently on the market.This was the highest level since a peak in 2012.
ILOILO City – A 26-year-old man got electrocutedin Barangay Pandac, Pavia, Iloilo. He was brought to the Western VisayasMedical Center in Mandurriao district for treatment./PN Ivan Paul Jagorin of Barangay Sambag,Jaro district sustained burns on both of his hands, a police report showed. Jagorin was fixing the roof of a house whenhe accidentally touched an open electrical wire around 4 p.m. on Jan. 3, thereport added.
Doug O’Neill312286%39%$135,062 John Sadler121218%33%$70,880 -30- FINISH LINES: Dressed in Hermes, 7-2 second choice on the morning, was scratched from today’s Sham Stakes due to a fever . . . Leading trainer Richard Baltas plans to enter three horses in the Grade III Megahertz Stakes on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday card Monday, Jan. 18: Beat of the Drum (Flavien Prat), Journey On (Mario Gutierrez) and Tiz a Kiss (Santiago Gonzalez). Named for the diminutive stretch-running mare trained by the late Bobby Frankel, the Megahertz is for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf . . . Triple Crown-winning jockey and Eclipse Award finalist Victor Espinoza hopes he’s on another Triple Crown candidate next Saturday at the Fair Grounds when he pilots impressive maiden winner Z Royal in the Grade III LeComte Stakes at a mile and 70 yards for D. Wayne Lukas and Ahmed Zayat, who campaigned American Pharoah to Triple Crown glory last year . . . Award-winning author Gary West will be on hand at Clockers’ Corner Sunday morning to sign “Ride to Win, An Inside Look at the Jockey’s Craft.” Proceeds from the sale of the book go to the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund (PDJF) . . . On Monday, Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Santa Anita offers another of its popular Dollar Days, with draft beers, hot dogs and sodas on sale for just a buck. TOEWS ON ICE WORKS FOR THREE-YEAR-OLD DEBUTToews On Ice (pronounced Taze), winner of three straight stakes for Bob Baffert before running second to stablemate Mor Spirit in the Grade I Los Alamitos Futurity, worked five furlongs in company Saturday morning in 1:01.20 for his three-year-old debut in the Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 6.With Martin Garcia up, Toews On Ice worked with Undeniable U and set fractions of 24.80, 37.40 and 49.20, with a six furlong gallop-out time of 1:14, according to Santa Anita clocker Dane Nelson.Undeniable U was given the identical time of 1:01.20.Also prepping for the Lewis Saturday was Delta Jackpot and Saratoga Special winner Exaggerator for trainer Keith Desormeaux. The Curlin colt was timed in 1:01.40 under Keith’s brother Kent Desormeaux.Beset with an erratic weather pattern that has brought recent rains, horsemen took advantage of a fast track Saturday morning, with 262 recorded workouts, including 11 on the dirt training track. Steve Knapp820025%25%$46,590 JockeyMts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won Joseph Talamo3467318%47%$308,930 Patrick Gallagher1031130%50%$206,684 Rafael Bejarano45128427%53%$581,110 Michael Machowsky612017%50%$53,120 Tiago Pereira211505%29%$109,952 Steven Miyadi1033130%70%$75,730 Brice Blanc1010110%20%$131,210 Ty Kennedy171226%29%$55,330 Santiago Gonzalez51108320%41%$410,350 Martin Pedroza2431113%21%$58,310 Jeff Bonde921022%33%$64,860 Kent Desormeaux232459%48%$235,590 Tyler Baze413787%44%$202,918 Jorge Gutierrez420050%50%$32,410 Mario Gutierrez353639%34%$140,874 Drayden Van Dyke1821011%17%$86,360 Philip D’Amato2235714%68%$277,350 Craig Dollase411125%75%$48,120 Abel Lezcano1221017%25%$77,340 GONZALEZ ATTEMPTS TO DETHRONE BEJARANOTOEWS ON ICE PREPS FOR ROBERT B. LEWISBALTAS HAS THREE FOR GRADE III MEGAHERTZ Jack Carava720029%29%$32,500 Martin Garcia211255%38%$130,044 Jose Verenzuela710114%29%$14,930 Kristin Mulhall831138%63%$133,550 TrainerSts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won Richard Baltas1752129%47%$301,080 SANTA ANITA STATISTICS Gary Stevens1431021%29%$358,270 Edwin Maldonado3161419%35%$175,820 Agapito Delgadillo911111%33%$39,020 Bob Baffert2231414%36%$209,310 Mike Smith2042220%40%$380,790 Victor Espinoza181216%22%$106,300 Richard Mandella1011210%40%$58,138 Peter Eurton1325115%62%$79,970 GONZALEZ CONTINUES ON A ROLL AT SANTA ANITAIt’s not a stretch to call Santiago Gonzalez an overnight sensation, at least since he began riding in the United States just over a year ago.The 32-year-old native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, has made an impact with bettors and horsemen alike, and early on is giving perennial Southern California kingpin Rafael Bejarano a run for the money nine days into Santa Anita’s Winter Meet where he is second behind Bejarano in the standings with 10 victories, only two behind the front-runner.“This kid will ride the card,” said his agent, former trainer Craig Stephen, alluding to the fact that Gonzalez will ride all eight races if the opportunity presents itself. To date, he leads all jockeys in mounts accepted this meet with 51, six more than Bejarano.“And,” Stephen was quick to add, “he’ll work 10 horses in the morning. He’s that hungry. The success we’ve had together so far has been a huge surprise to me. When he first came out here, I thought I was really up against it.“I thought the odds were stacked so far against me. He wasn’t a bug boy, he didn’t speak English, and nobody knew his name. He had a great reputation in Venezuela, but that doesn’t transfer to the U.S.“Thanks to all the trainers and owners who have helped us along the way, especially Jim Cassidy. We couldn’t have done it without them.” Fernando Perez362186%31%$128,858 Alex Solis520140%60%$103,424 Karen Headley430075%75%$127,450 Peter Miller2541116%24%$124,630 Clifford Sise, Jr.612117%67%$53,340 Flavien Prat2732511%37%$181,552 Alonso Quinonez1424114%50%$83,100 Robertino Diodoro312033%100%$28,600 Jerry Hollendorfer272447%37%$155,122 David Lopez2552620%52%$159,820 William Spawr842050%75%$101,100 (Current Through Friday, Jan. 8)