U.N. Opposes Uruguay’s Marijuana Legislation

Uruguay and its President, Jose Mujica, have been making headlines recently for legislation to regulate the marijuana market. President Mujica has been determined to pass the law, supporting the movement throughout the legislative process and defending the policy to opponents both in his own country and abroad. Now that the law has passed, Uruguay is facing pressure from the U.N., which accuses the legislature of violating an international convention.

The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 essentially bans countries from allowing the consumption or production of specific drugs, except for medical or research purposes. The United Nations Information Service has released a document explaining how Uruguay is violating the convention.

According to the President, “the decision of the Uruguayan legislature fails to consider its negative impacts on health since scientific studies confirm that cannabis is an addictive substance with serious consequences for people’s health. In particular, the use and abuse of cannabis by young people can seriously affect their development.”

Cannabis is not only addictive but may also affect some fundamental brain functions, IQ potential, and academic and job performance and impair driving skills. Smoking cannabis is more carcinogenic than smoking tobacco.

The health claims of the U.N.I.S. are without merit. Studies into marijuana’s effect on the body show that it is safer than alcohol and has fewer long-term effects than tobacco. Furthermore, contrary to what Mr. Yans states, marijuana is not linked with cancer, unlike tobacco, which causes more than five million deaths per year.

The current U.N. drug policy and the 1961 Convention are not compatible with an evidence-based approach to drug policy. Luckily, Uruguay is not the only country looking to reform the world’s approach to marijuana. Recently, there has been evidence that the U.N. is losing support for the war on drugs. Hopefully, international policy can be adapted to reflect current knowledge surrounding marijuana and the consequences of prohibition. Until then, Uruguay and other countries looking to regulate marijuana may find an enemy in the U.N.

2 thoughts on “U.N. Opposes Uruguay’s Marijuana Legislation”

  1. Marijuana legalization does not violate any international treaties. Don’t let anyone lie to you about it.

    All three of the international drug conventions are peppered with disclaimers just like these in the Single Convention:

    Article 35 Action against the Illicit Traffic
    Article 35 “Having due regard to their constitutional, legal and administrative systems, …”

    Article 36 Penal Provisions
    Article 36(1)(a) “Subject to its constitutional limitations, …”
    Article 36(2) “Subject to the constitutional limitations of a Party, its legal system and domestic law, …”

    Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, May 25, 1967, 18 U.S.T. 1407, 30 T.I.A.S. No. 6298, 520 U.N.T.S. 151

    Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971, February 21, 1971, 32 U.S.T. 543, 1019 U.N.T.S. 175

    United Nations Convention on Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988, December 20, 1988, 28 I.L.M. 493, 1582 U.N.T.S 95

  2. I am so tired of these prohibitionists spewing their contemptible lies. First of all, many of the “bad” effects of marijuana they cite are actually much more prevalent in alcohol, so by their logic all alcohol should be illegal. Second, the idea that MJ impairs job performance has never been shown by independent study but is a lie promoted by the drug testing industry to sell their scam service–in fact, many independent studies have shown that MJ users tend to be above-average employees. Third–well the rest of it, such as the idea that MJ is “more carcinogenic” than cigarettes, is an all-out fabrication with zero evidence to support it.

    I wish there was some recourse to justice. If I went around lying like these scum do, I’d get some kind of slander or libel charge placed on me, I’m sure. These people and their freaking LIES have continually cost people their freedom, health and lives for forty years. Is there nothing that can ever be done to hold these prohibitionists accountable for their lies and the damage those lies have caused?

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