States to Legalize Marijuana, DoJ Scrambles to Adhere to UN Substance Treaties
February 22, 2013
House Representative Earl Blumenauer has introduced a bill entitled, “The Path Forward: Rethinking Federal Marijuana Policy”, that would create the framework to allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Blumenauer explains: “Frankly, the people in the federal hierarchy are in an impossible position. It gets the federal government and the Department of Justice out of this never-never land.”
Nineteen states across the nation have made steps to legalize marijuana. Those states include: Arizona, California, Washington DC, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. Some of these states have been voted down, however the trend toward legalization is worth paying attention to.
In recent polls , 58% of Americans believe that marijuana should be legalized.
In the Maryland House of Delegates, a bill has been proposed by Delegate Curt Anderson that would legalize marijuana use for adults 21 years and older with a system of regulation similar to current alcohol guidelines.
In conjunction, retail stores, wholesale and testing facilities will be under the direction of the Maryland Comptroller for the purpose of issuing licenses. A state tax of $50 per ounce would be attributed on whole and direct sales profits that would be directed to treatment centers to assist in funding.
State Representative Diane Russell in Maine has introduced a bill that could possibly legalize marijuana for recreational use statewide.
Russell and House Representative Aaron Libby are pushing for amendments to Maine’s current drug laws; including allowing that possession of 2.5 ounces be legal and imposing a state-collectable tax of $50 per ounce.
Similar to Maryland, the revenue collected by the taxes would be redirected to substance abuse programs; state government approved educational programs and social services.
Conversely, in Raleigh, North Carolina, the House Rules Committee has voted down legislation that would have legalized marijuana which incited a torrent of emails and phone calls to lawmakers.
The US government, in conjunction with Department of Justice (DoJ) lawyers, are considering suing states that have passed marijuana legalization laws. For now, the federal government is observing how recreational laws will affect punitive measures and how the federal laws in place are applicable.
Illegal drugs from Mexico will be directly impacted by the legalization of marijuana in the US. Attorney General Eric Holder explains: “We have treaty obligations with nations outside of the US. There are a whole variety of things that have to go into the determination that we are in the process of making.”
In November of 2012, Raymond Yans, president of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) asserted that the US government has treaty obligations that preclude the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington State. In fact, Yans points out that “these developments are in violation of the international drug control treaties.”
Stated in the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (SCND), the new legalization of marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington must be overridden by the federal government because there was a limit “of the use of cannabis to medical and scientific purposes”, according to the SCND. Therefore narcotic drugs must be made available for medical purposes to all the States who signed the treaty. This fact would be reflected in national laws within each sovereign nations and be fully in-line with international mandates. Treaty obligations would also ensure that nations would comply with the SCND.
The SCND is a combination of many international drug trade treaties which outlines the limitations of the “production, manufacture, export, import, distribution of, trade in, use and possession of” opiates, marijuana and cocaine to “medicinal and scientific purposes.” In Schedule 1, heroin, cocaine and cannibus are the most restricted narcotics. The INCB was established to monitor nations and maintain compliance with the SCND.
The legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington State, according to Yans and the SCND, is a contradiction to the international law set forth in the treaty.
Yans made it clear that his organization was seeking to have the US government come back into compliance with the SCND with regard to the legalization of marijuana which is a violation of international drug control treaties for the sake of “protect[ing] the health and well-being” of American citizens.
The Global Initiative for Drug Policy Reform states that: “Although the objectives of the 1961 Convention made it clear that its aims were the improvement of the health and welfare of mankind, the measures of success which have been used in the ‘war on drugs’ approach have been the number of arrests, size of the seizures or severity of prison sentences . . . these indicators may tell us how tough we are being, but they don’t tell us how successful we are in improving the health and welfare of mankind.”
In essence, the Obama administration is facing the choice of knowingly violating the SCND or finding a legal remedy against Colorado and Washington for allowing marijuana for recreational use within state limits.
The propaganda of pro-marijuana and anti-marijuana claims all method of reasons for justification of their argument which serves to confuse the public while keeping the truth of the UN treaty out of the social meme while Obama figures out which side of the fence he wants to be on.
The DoJ revealed that the Enforcement of the Controlled Substances (ECSA) Act in November of 2012 still stands as is. Marijuana is classified on the ECSA as a controlled substance under Schedule I.