I think one of the major purposes of this blog is to look at how domestic issues touch upon, and are influenced by, international law. This topic is no exception. One of the biggest social and criminal issues is the legalization of pot. Now, the U.N. has added their opinion to the mix.
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has issued a warning to the United States against the increased legalization of pot by individual States. The INCB is a body of the U.N. in charge of overseeing drug treaties and the member states to those treaties. They believe the increased “legal highs,” those from the legal use of medical marijuana, are only aiding the illegal drug trade.
The INCB’s criticism comes from a perspective that the U.S.’s increased legalization is outside the treaties’ rules. Their strongest criticism went to Washington State and Colorado, where limited amounts of pot can be used for recreation. Raymond Yans, President of the INCB, said the increased legal use is “under[mining] the humanitarian aims of the drug control system.” He went on to say that Attorney General Holder re-assured him that the federal laws banning cultivation and possession will remain in force. Yans also stated he was awaiting the federal government’s response to the the states, now up to 18, who have legalized marijuana, most in medical form.
There will be a global summit in Vienna next week to discuss the marijuana issue, as well as the global problem of other drugs.
Normally, this topic is a domestic issue, often seen as a generational dispute. This, however, adds an international dimension. The feel I received from Mr. Yans is if the federal government does not curb the legalization, then they might issue sanctions of some sort. I can see the concern. While the use of pot might be a domestic issue, the origin of the drugs, and the labor used to produce it pushes it to an international level.
-How do you feel about the potential violation of international law by states such as Colorado and Massachusetts’s legalization?
-Should individual citizens votes count more than an international body?
-Should the federal government take into account the international perspective of the problem?