Saturday, March 21, 2020

Canadian gov't defends cannabis legalization

Canada Defends Marijuana Legalization In Response To International Skepticism | Marijuana Moment - Ben Adlin:

March 10, 2020 - "The Canadian government touted the benefits of its legal, regulated marijuana market in comments to the United Nations recently.... The remarks were delivered last Monday to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs by Michelle Boudreau, director general for Health Canada’s controlled substances department. As a whole, they portray the country’s decision to legalize cannabis as a victory for public health....

"Canada passed legislation to legalize marijuana for adults in 2018, becoming the largest nation ever to do so. The move technically ran afoul of international drug treaties that still forbid marijuana legalization, but the country nevertheless proceeded with the change.

"In her remarks to the UN commission, Boudreau stopped short of encouraging other countries to legalize, which may have further rankled UN officials, but she pushed back against international concerns that legalization would endanger public health and young people.

“'The illegal market has already lost 30% of its market share, and we have seen no corresponding increase in the overall size of the market,' Boudreau said, according to a written copy of her remarks. 'This represents nearly $2 billion in sales that did not go to criminal organizations.' She added that 'initial data suggests that rates of cannabis use have not changed among youth and young adults,' nor has the country seen an increase in movement of cannabis across international borders....

"Canada’s comments were delivered less than a week after the UN International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) expressed skepticism around legalization, writing in an annual report that it 'remains concerned at the legislative developments permitting the use of cannabis for "recreational" uses.' 'Not only are these developments in contravention of the drug control conventions and the commitments made by States parties,' the UN report said, but 'the consequences for health and well-being, in particular of young people, are of serious concern.'

There are signs, however, that global drug policy could be changing soon. The international prohibition on cannabis legalization is nearly 60 years old at this point, as contained in the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. And many, including the president of INCB itself, have openly wondered whether its cannabis provisions are out of date. Discussing cannabis and synthetic drugs during a UN presentation late last month, INCB President Cornelis P. de Joncheere questioned whether blanket prohibition is still the right approach....

"Last year, the World Health Organization recommended that marijuana be removed from the most restrictive category of controlled substances under the 1961 treaty. The proposal would shift cannabis and THC to the drug convention’s least-restricted category. The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs was set to vote on the WHO recommendation this month, but the vote has been pushed back until December."

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