It has now been a week since Canada legalized marijuana nationwide for recreational consumption, and still the United States — not President Donald Trump, U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the DEA or, at bare minimum, any member of the White House janitorial staff — has yet to say peep pertaining to the northern nation’s graduation into the realm of common sense. But, as for Russia, the world power for which Trump is accused of colluding with during his presidential campaign, officials there are apparently less than pleased with Canada’s decision to legitimize pot. They are calling it a “breach” of “its international legal obligations,” according to a report from Newsweek.
Late last week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation released a statement criticizing the Canadian government for disregarding international drug treaties by going through with a cockamamie scheme to launch a recreational pot trade.
Although Canada’s therapeutic marijuana program falls in line with the responsibilities detailed in international law, as it is perfectly acceptable under these treaties to legalize for “medical and scientific purposes,” Russia officials said giving cannabis the same freedom to be grown and sold across the nation in a manner similar to alcohol shows a blatant disrespect for the pact that was made decades ago.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry says Canada is well aware of its violation. After all, its national delegation was part of the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Problem of Drugs (UNGASS) in New York back in 2016. It was there, along with all of the other represented nations, the country acknowledged that the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 and the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988 are, “the cornerstone of the international drug control system.”
“We expect Canada’s partners in the G7 to respond to its ‘high-handedness’ because this alliance has repeatedly declared its adherence to the domination of international law in relations between states,” the foreign ministry declared. Canada’s will to legalize marijuana “will become a serious obstacle on the way to the strategic goal set by the world community — building a drug-free society,” it concluded.
But Russia failed to mention that the treaties designed to prevent the dope culture from consuming the world population have failed. Not only have these policies done nothing in the way of preventing illegal drug trafficking and inflated consumption rates, but anti-drug laws have also pitted law enforcement against the otherwise law-abiding citizens (and vice versa), as well as lined the pockets of criminal organizations. In fact, the criminal element is one of the primary reasons Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to legalize marijuana once he was elected. His goal is to eliminate the black market, prevent kids from obtaining easy access, and bring legitimacy to a $6 billion underground trade.
“Billions upon billions of dollars flowing into the pockets of organized crime, street gangs and gun-runners, because of the illicit marijuana trade, and if we can get that out of the criminal elements and into a more regulated fashion we will reduce the amount of criminal activity that’s profiting from those, and that has offshoots into so many other criminal activities,” Prime Minister Trudeau said during a 2016 economic conference.
The global turning point on this issue will happen once the U.S. government decides to end marijuana prohibition nationwide. While a handful of states, including Colorado and California, have legalized for recreational use, the country is not in any sort of breach of international law since pot remains illegal at the federal level. There is optimism among the cannabis advocacy community that President Trump’s recent comments about “probably” signing legislation that allows states to run legal weed operations without federal interference is a signal that the country is headed in the right direction. But Congress, which has total power with respect to whether the nation goes legal, doesn’t seem to have much interest in moving forward. Even the smallest temporary amendments dedicated to protecting statewide marijuana freedoms are not being well received on Capitol Hill. So, it is not likely a bill calling for marijuana to become part of America’s inebriation commerce will land on the president’s desk anytime soon. It will have to happen eventually, especially as more state jurisdictions move to legalize. But it won’t be before the turn of the next decade.
Meanwhile, other countries are considering nationwide marijuana reform. Some believe that Mexico and Europe could be next in line.
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