U.N. Still Upset Over Uruguay Legalizing Weed

A man lights a joint during a march for the legalization of marijuana towards the Legislative Palace in Montevideo, on Decemb
A man lights a joint during a march for the legalization of marijuana towards the Legislative Palace in Montevideo, on December 10, 2013, as the Senate discuss a law on the legalization of marijuana's cultivation and consumption. Uruguays parliament is to vote Tuesday a project that would make the country the first to legalize marijuana, an experiment that seeks to confront drug trafficking. The initiative launched by 78-year-old Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, a former revolutionary leader, would enable the production, distribution and sale of cannabis, self-cultivation and consumer clubs, all under state control. AFP PHOTO/ Pablo PORCIUNCULA (Photo credit should read PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/Getty Images)

The United Nations is still on Uruguay’s case over legalizing weed.

The International Narcotics Control Board, a U.N. panel, criticized Uruguay Tuesday during a press conference, saying the country’s legalization of the production and sale of marijuana “marks a dangerous tendency,” according to Spanish wire service EFE.

The board’s president, Raymond Yans, made the criticism during the release of the INCB’s annual report.

“When governments consider their future policies on this, the primary consideration should be the long term health and welfare of the population,” Yans said, according to a press release.

In the introduction to the report, Yans appears to insinuate that legalizing marijuana could worsen the problem of drug trafficking.

“Drug traffickers will choose the path of least resistance; so, it is essential that global efforts to tackle the drug problem are unified,” Yans writes. “INCB is concerned about some initiatives aimed at the legalization of the non-medical and non-scientific use of cannabis.”

Proponents of Uruguay’s legalization have rejected that view, arguing that legalization will sap drug traffickers’ profits and that legalizing the drug will make it difficult for traffickers to sell on the black market.

Under Uruguay’s new law, the government may sell up to 40 grams of weed per month to registered users who must be legal residents. Pot smokers may also grow up to six marijuana plants at home.

Yans has emerged as a major international critic of Uruguay’s legalization of marijuana, telling the press repeatedly that the law violates the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and that Uruguayan authorities had avoided discussing the issue with the United Nations before approving the law.

“Tell this old guy not to lie,” Mujica told reporters in December, according to Colombian daily El Espectador. “Any guy in the street can meet with me. Let him come to Uruguay and meet with me whenever he wants… He thinks that because he’s in an international position, he can tell whatever lie he wants.”



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