Is Canada ready to break International Treaties for the Legalizaion of Cannabis?

cannabis legalization

UPDATE: Cannabis has been legalized in Canada. Click here to read more.

Canada Seems Ready to Break Three International Treaties to Legalize Cannabis

The legalization of cannabis in Canada would soon be announced and there has been so many talks about its use, sales and distribution, but very little has been said about the International laws that prevent the use and legalization of cannabis by countries.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, of Canada has already laid out plans for the legalization of Canada in his country and is strongly working towards achieving it. The legalization would place Canada in violation of three UN treaties. The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961), the Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971) and the Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988) all require countries to ban the possession and production of recreational cannabis.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also not putting into consideration the law that says that any intending country to leave the Cannabis treaty should file a notification to the UN, 1 year prior to the legalization, as there has been no previous notifications by Canada.

Legal experts in Canada believe that the Prime minister should abide by the laws of the UN and not make hasty decisions, which might result to no actions by the UN, but for the sole reason of upholding the integrity of Canada as a country.

Steven Hoffman, a professor in the Faculty of Health and Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto, is an advocate for the legalization of recreational cannabis, believing its criminalization has had negative legal and health consequences. He also believes the UN treaties are outdated and “not reflective of current science.” But he feels strongly that Canada shouldn’t violate them.

“International law is not an esoteric doctrine. It’s not a far away thing that only nerdy academics think about,” he told Leafly. “It governs international interaction at almost every level, from mailing holiday cards to the functioning of the internet. If we undermine international law it takes away from our credibility as a country—and it becomes politically more difficult to criticize other countries for violating international law.”

Canada should legalize recreational cannabis without violating international law, he said, which would require Ottawa to withdraw from the treaties then wait a year for legalization. He added that Canada could withdraw from the treaties and rejoin after legalization, declaring that it accepts the general concepts of the treaties except in their application to cannabis.

But Hoffman dismissed some other alternatives to withdrawal.

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