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UN Investigates U.S. and Uruguay for Violation of Drug Treaties

The United Nations remains adamant that the efforts displayed by the United States and Uruguay to reform marijuana laws is a direct violation of international drug treaties, and perhaps the beginning of an international shakedown – if an adequate explanation for the blatant disregard for world law is not communicated.

The latest report from the International Narcotics Control Board claims it is keeping a watchful eye on Uruguay and the U.S. due to their policies on the legalization of marijuana being “inconsistent” with the regulations hashed out during the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to establish a national cannabis industry, while Uncle Sam has permitted Colorado and Washington state to operate retail pot markets for the past year. To add to the apparent defiance of international law, the U.S. government recently allowed Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes.

This states’ right approach to legalization will likely continue to be authorized for any state that wants to implement similar policies in the future. However, all of the laws that have legalized cannabis, so far, go against the grain of signed treaties, according to the report.

Interestingly, the INCB indicates that they are likely the culprit behind the continued prohibition of marijuana in the United States, as the report states that Board “continues to engage in a constructive dialogue” with the American government, and strongly encourages the government to maintain marijuana’s Schedule I status.

Although INCB president Lochan Naidoo said he understands the U.S. plans to supervise the impact of legal marijuana on public health and safety, the treaties limit the use of cannabis for only medicinal and research purposes; therefore the events currently underway in Colorado and Washington are clearly insubordinate. Even in the case of medicinal cannabis, the Board is not entirely sure if these programs comply with drug treaties.

The INCB concludes that “In the United States, the results of ballot initiatives in the states of Alaska and Oregon, and in Washington D.C., on the use of cannabis for non-medical purposes represent further challenges to the compliance by the Government of the United States with its obligations under the international drug control treaties.”

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