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The United Nations’s (UN) drug control body is suggesting that the U.S. is out of compliance with a decades-old international drug treaty because the federal government is passively allowing states within the country to legalize marijuana.
While the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has routinely criticized countries for allowing the enactment of cannabis legalization due to their obligations under the 1961 Single Convention to maintain prohibition, a section of the new annual report report it released last week stands out by appearing to indirectly address state-level reform efforts in the U.S.
“In States with a federal structure, a special issue may arise with respect to whether the federal Government may be held accountable if a federated entity implements legalization, which violates the conventions, while the federal Government does not have the power to compel the federated entity to fulfill the treaty obligations,” the report says.
INCB said the 1961 treaty mandates that member nations must “give effect to and carry out the provisions of this Convention within their own territories,” regardless of whether or not they have a constitutionally federalist system like in the U.S.