UN Drug Czar: States Can’t Legalize Marijuana Under International Law

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The president of the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Raymond Yans, wrote a threatening letter to the U.S. government to challenge marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington.

Apparently the voters in Colorado and Washington were unaware that they would have to not only fight off the federal government, but global drug czars as well in their effort to exercise their local sovereignty.

Mr. Yans stated that “these developments are in violation of the international drug control treaties, and pose a great threat to public health and the well-being of society far beyond those states”.

Yans says marijuana legalization sends the wrong message to youths and society, “Legalization of cannabis within these states would send wrong and confusing signals to youth and society in general, giving the false impression that drug abuse might be considered normal and even, most disturbingly, safe.”

Yans reminds the United States that they agreed to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which was agreed to by 185 States, decided to place cannabis under control and limit its use to medical purposes.

In the final section of his letter, Yans makes a veiled threat that the U.S. has an obligation to make sure their states are in compliance with U.N. conventions or they’ll be in violation of the international treaty:

He further emphasized that States Parties have an obligation under the Conventions to ensure their full compliance with the conventions within their entire territory, including federated states and/or provinces.

Mr. Yans recognized the commitment of the Government of the United States to resolve the contradiction between the federal and state levels in the implementation of that country’s obligations under the drug control conventions. The INCB President requested the Government of the United States to take the necessary measures to ensure full compliance with the international drug control treaties within the entire territory of the United States, in order to protect the health and well-being of its citizens.

It is clear that the INCB has not been listening to nearly every independent study presented to the U.N. in the past few years about how badly the drug war has failed to “protect the health and well-being” global citizens. The most recent report in 2011 by the Global Commission on Drugs concluded the global war on drugs has failed, and argues that governments should end the criminalization of drug use.

This threatening letter by an international body would seem to indicate that voters in the U.S. have very little or no self-determination or democracy left in their localities when it comes to determining issues as minor as the legalization of a relatively benign dried flower.

Here is the INCB’s contact information if you’d like to send them a message:

Raechelle Newman
Drug Control Officer, INCB Secretariat
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-5638
Email: raechelle.newman[@]incb.org

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