Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageOp-Ed: UN claims that Uruguay's marijuana legalization violates treaty

By Ken Hanly     Dec 12, 2013 in World
The United Nations International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) warned Uruguay that its recent legalization of marijuana violates a 1961 treaty on on narcotic drugs. At the time the treaty was pushed by the United States.
The INCB has regularly threatened sanctions against countries that violate the treaty called the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
Raymond Yans, president of INCB, said that Uruguayan legislators "knowingly decided to break the universally agreed and internationally endorsed legal provisions" of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Yan said: "[T]he main aim of the 1961 Single Convention is to protect the health and welfare of humankind. Cannabis is controlled under the 1961 Convention, which requires States Parties to limit its use to medical and scientific purposes, due to its dependence-producing potential."
Uruguay claims it made the move to decriminalize purchase of up to 40g per month in order to curb the influence and growth of drug cartels that flourished while marijuana was illegal. The INCB argues that marijuana use endangers young people. Alcohol is also dependence-producing in many cases and certainly harms many people but it is not universally prohibited as marijuana is. The INCB position simply ignores the effects of making marijuana illegal or the costs and ultimate failure of the war on drugs. The idea of harm reduction simply does not seem to enter into the Yan argument.
Yan has been issuing similar warnings to the US as various US states and municipalities eliminate penalties for possessing or using marijuana. Hundreds of young people gathered outside the Uruguayan Congress to follow the vote on the law. Some shared a joint of marijuana and partied amid reggae music. Not everyone was happy though. Senator Pedro Bordaberry of the conservative Red Party said: "We used to be known for our excellent meat and football, now the world is watching us because of our marijuana."
Back in July while visiting Brazil Pope Francis criticized plans for drug legalization without mentioning Uruguay specifically. However, public opinion in many places appears to favor legalizing marijuana.
A recent US Gallup poll shows that 58 per cent of Americans think that marijuana should be legal, compared to just 39 per cent who think that it should remain illegal. This is a 10-point increase in support for legalization compared to when the question was asked last year in November. It is also the first time more than half of respondents have been in favor of legalization. The INCB may be losing the battle for public opinion.
People celebrate after the Senate approved a government-sponsored bill that provides for regulation ...
People celebrate after the Senate approved a government-sponsored bill that provides for regulation of the cultivation, distribution and consumption of marijuana during a session in Montevideo December 10, 2013
With permission by Reuters / Andres Stapff
People celebrate after the Senate approved a government-sponsored bill that provides for regulation ...
People celebrate after the Senate approved a government-sponsored bill that provides for regulation of the cultivation, distribution and consumption of marijuana during a session in Montevideo, December 10, 2013.
With permission by Reuters / Andres Stapff
A marijuana sample
A marijuana sample
With permission by Reuters / Andres Stapff
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about marijuana legalization, Uruguay, UN INCB
More news from