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Uruguay marijuana decision 'breaks internationally endorsed treaty'


International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) says legalisation of drug contravenes the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs


Reuters
theguardian.com, Wednesday 11 December 2013 18.50 GMT


Pro-marijuanan-march-in-U-007 - Uruguay marijuana decision 'breaks internationally endorsed treaty' - Latin America | South America
Pro-marijuana demonstrators in Uruguay, where the trade in the drug has been legalised. Photograph: Sandro Pereyra/EPA


Uruguay's decision to legalise marijuana is in violation of an international convention on drug control, a Vienna-based body set up to monitor government compliance with such treaties has said.

Uruguay became the first country to legalise the growing, sale and smoking of marijuana on Tuesday, in a pioneering experiment that will be closely watched by other nations debating drug liberalisation.

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Re: Uruguay marijuana decision 'breaks internationally endorsed treaty'
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2013, 06:03:47 AM »
A government-sponsored bill approved in the senate provides for regulation of the cultivation, distribution and consumption of marijuana and is aimed at wresting the business from criminals in the small South American nation.

But the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said the legislation contravenes the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, to which it said Uruguay is a party.

"Cannabis is controlled under the 1961 convention, which requires states parties to limit its use to medical and scientific purposes, due to its dependence-producing potential," INCB president Raymond Yans said in a statement.

He was surprised, the statement added, that Uruguay's legislature and government "knowingly decided to break the universally agreed and internationally endorsed legal provisions of the treaty".

The INCB describes itself as an independent, quasi-judicial body charged with promoting and monitoring compliance with the three international drug control conventions, including the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Uruguay's attempt to quell drug trafficking is being followed closely in Latin America, where the legalisation of some narcotics is being increasingly seen by regional leaders as a possible way to end the violence spawned by the cocaine trade.

Rich countries debating legalisation of cannabis are also watching the bill, which philanthropist George Soros has supported as an "experiment" that could provide an alternative to the failed US-led policies of the long "war on drugs".

Other countries have decriminalised marijuana possession and the Netherlands allows its sale in coffee shops, but Uruguay will be the first nation to legalise the whole chain from growing the plant to buying and selling its leaves.

Yans, the INCB president, said Uruguay's decision "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".

"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 INCB statement added.

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