Marijuana: United Nations board says Colorado pot law violates international treaties
As we reported earlier today, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder didn't choose his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee to share the Justice Department response to marijuana laws in Colorado that contradict federal policy.
The measures contradict international treaties, too, as a new report from an agency affiliated with the United Nations points out. Read it and get more details about Holder's testimony below.
The agency in question is the International Narcotics Control Board, which on Tuesday released its annual report. The document says Amendment 64, which allows Colorado adults age 21 and over to use and possess small amounts of marijuana, poses a "significant challenge" to existing international drug law.
In the report, the board points to a 1961 treaty that says governments must "take such legislative and administrative measures as may be necessary" to prevent illegal drug trafficking and use.
Members of the International Narcotics Control Board.
"The Board notes with serious concern the ongoing move towards the legalization of cannabis for non-medical purposes in some parts of the United States and, in particular, the outcomes of recent ballot initiatives that took place in the states of Colorado and Washington in November 2012," the report warns. "The Board stresses the importance of universal implementation of the international drug control treaties by all States parties and urges the Government of the United States to take necessary measures to ensure full compliance with the international drug control treaties in its entire territories."
This same point was made by eight former heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration, who wrote a letter to ranking Senate Judiciary Committee members Patrick Leahy and Chuck Grassley asking that they put Holder on the spot about the Justice Department's actions -- or, in their view, inactions -- related to pot laws in Colorado and Washington. One of the questions they suggested the senators pose was, "What is being done to honor our international drug control treaty obligations, which require the United States as a nation to enforce the law prohibiting the distribution, sale and cultivation of marijuana?"
Here's an excerpt from the letter:
Keeping marijuana illegal is a treaty obligation under the 1961 International Convention on Narcotic Drugs and supported by the two other Conventions: the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Drugs and the 1988 Anti-Trafficking Convention. The United States was a prime mover of these multilateral treaties and largely responsible for signature ratification by virtually every other country in the world. The President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has already protested the initiatives in Colorado and Washington.Continue for more about today's marijuana developments.
The treaty conflict has not gone unnoticed by Mexico and other Latin American leaders. Mexico's President, Felipe Calderon, declared that the United States has "no moral authority" to insist that other countries enforce drug laws if two states in our nation legalize marijuana.