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UN Says U.S. Federal Government Push State To Repeal Legalizing Marijuana To Correspond With International Treaty!

UN Says U.S. Federal Government Push State To Repeal Legalizing Marijuana

The United Nations drug control agency has said that the United States is in violation of a convention it signed decades ago because it allows individual states to legalize marijuana. A section of the new annual report released by the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) last week stands out because it appears to indirectly address state-level reform efforts in the United States.

Despite the INCB’s frequent criticism of countries for allowing the enactment of cannabis legalization despite their obligations under the 1961 Single Convention to maintain prohibition. The report notes that “a special issue may arise with respect to whether the Federal Government may be held accountable if a federated entity implements legalization.

which violates the conventions,” in states with a federal structure, where the federal government lacks the authority to compel the federated entity to fulfill the treaty obligations. INCB stated the 1961 treaty stipulates that member nations “give effect to and carry out the articles of this Convention within their own territories,” regardless of whether or not they have a constitutionally federalist system like in the U.S.

UN Says U.S. Federal Government Push State To Repeal Legalizing Marijuana To Correspond With International Treaty!

A treaty is obligatory on each party with respect to all of its territory “unless a different intention appears from the treaty or is otherwise demonstrated,” as the convention puts it. Without mentioning the United States by name, it asserts that “the internal distribution of powers between the different levels of a State cannot be invoked as a justification for the failure to perform a treaty.” This could be interpreted to mean that state-level legalization is not acceptable as an excuse for non-performance.

“The Commentary on the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 explains that the question of whether a federal State is relieved from obligations under article 36, paragraph 1, of the Convention, if it is unable to enact the required penal legislation on account of lack of authority under its federal constitution to do so, should be answered in the negative. The Commentary argues, “the absence of jurisdiction under a federal constitution would not exempt a party from the responsibility to adopt the required actions if the states or provinces forming the federal State in question had the necessary powers.”

Because other UN member states, such as Canada and Uruguay, have openly violated the treaty by legalizing marijuana for adult use at the federal level, the practical implications of this approach are uncertain. However, it is notable that the international organization is relying on the provision of the treaty that dates back six decades to imply that the United States is avoiding its responsibilities to remain in compliance by allowing states to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes without taking enforcement action.

INCB did say that simpler decriminalization of possession without sales “can be considered consistent with the conventions as far as it respects the obligation to limit the use of drugs to medical and scientific purposes and under the condition that it remains within certain limits set out in the conventions.” Legalizing marijuana for adults.

However, would “run counter to the commitments set forth in the drug control conventions,” the report added. The board made a number of other points of concern about countries that have allowed legalization, and about marijuana use in general, beyond the question of the legality of cannabis reform under international law.

The report said the “rising availability and potency of cannabis products available on the illicit markets poses an increasing health concern,” as an example. And it also noted that the “normalization and trivialization of cannabis use and, therefore, to reduced perceptions of harm connected with cannabis consumption” have resulted from the approval and growth of legal cannabis businesses.

UN Says U.S. Federal Government Push State To Repeal Legalizing Marijuana To Correspond With International Treaty!

Increased consumer demand for cannabis has benefited criminal organizations involved in its mass manufacture and distribution. The international community faces a growing challenge from this trend, particularly the States that are parties to the international drug control conventions, which state that “subject to the provisions of those conventions, any kind of drug use must be limited to medical and scientific purposes, and that any use contrary to the provisions of those conventions should be treated as ‘punishable offenses.'”

The International Narcotic Control Board (INCB) recognized that some nations’ justifications for legalizing marijuana include citing the convention’s stated purposes of health and safety promotion and “human rights values such as the rights to freedom, privacy, and personal autonomy.” The board’s response, though, was mostly one of dismissal.

It did, however, admit that research into the effects of legalization has been contradictory. Given the complexity of the situation, INCB warns that broad generalizations about legalization’s effects are unlikely. The board pointed out, for instance, that studies on juvenile consumption rates following legalization have yielded varied results, with some indicating rises in underage use and others showing stability or even decreases.

Many studies in the United States have shown that teen cannabis use has stayed consistent or decreased after the legalization movement began at the state level. For instance, a survey funded by the federal government and published this month indicated that teen marijuana consumption decreased from 2019 to 2021, reaching a new all-time low not seen since 2011.

The study also notes the international board’s concern about how legalization will affect the black market for cannabis. In spite of the fact that reducing the impact of illegal sales is a “goal” of member countries that pursue legalization, INCB found no consistency in the outcomes of these efforts.

From 40% in Canada to nearly 50% in Uruguay and 75% in California, it was stated that “the market for illicit supply survived in all legalizing countries, albeit to various extents.” “In the United States, although the legalizing states hoped to eliminate or minimize the illicit cannabis economy and the attendant organized crime, the criminal market continues to thrive,” it says.

UN Says U.S. Federal Government Push State To Repeal Legalizing Marijuana To Correspond With International Treaty!

“Since all of the illicit market’s activities are ‘underground’ and not publicly known, it is difficult to adequately quantify its scale.” Absent from the board’s research, however, is the reality that prior to legalization, 100 percent of cannabis sales took place in the unregulated, unlawful market. Even governments at the state level aren’t ignoring the issue.

For example, California has made it a regulatory priority to further eradicate illegal trade. “Legalization has led to a new legal cannabis market in the legalizing jurisdictions, attracting the interest of huge firms, which perceive the potential for development and opportunity for investment,” it stated.

It is not always easy to trace a direct line between a jurisdiction’s decision to legalize and subsequent changes in crime rates. Nonetheless, it’s fair to conclude that the goals of those who advocated for legalization have not been realized. It can be noticed that legalization has not succeeded in eliminating the drug problems found in legalizing jurisdictions and worldwide.

Nonetheless, the prevalence of cannabis use appears to be expanding more quickly in these areas than in Non-legalizing areas, and this is having serious health repercussions. No reduction in youth cannabis use has been observed after legalization. Illegal markets have been largely diminished, yet they nevertheless continue and flourish in some countries. Organized criminality has been widely supplanted by an emerging cannabis industry which strives to generate profit by boosting sales without concern for public health.”

Thus yet, the United Nations has not taken action against member states that have legalized the practice. Although Canada defended its legal cannabis law in remarks submitted to the drug enforcement board in 2020, this did not sway worldwide opinion. Two years prior, INCB had cautioned its membership against taking the same action as Canada.


Sheela Sharma

About Author

Sheela is a skilled and experienced writer with a deep passion for all things related to the CBD industry. She enjoys writing everything related to CBD and Marijuana. When she isn't writing she likes to watch tv series and listen to podcasts.

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