The United Nations has come out against recent U.S. state marijuana legalization, reiterating that it is not in line with international law.
Yury Fedotov, the UN anti-narcotics chief told reporters he does not believe new state laws in Oregon, Alaska and Washington D.C. “can be compatible with existing conventions.”
Craig Jones, Executive Director of the National Organization For the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) in Canada says the laws both here and in the U.S. are outdated and need to change.
Hear the full interview below
Like many other critics of Canada’s drug laws, Jones claims government measures are too punitive and should focus on rehabilitation instead of incarceration.
“The international consensus among policy specialists and even a number of former political leaders have come around 180 degrees to the realization that prohibition of drugs is more harmful than the alleged benefits that arise from it,” said Jones.
Both the Liberal Party and the NDP are in support of marijuana decriminalization, while the Conservative Party is not.
For decades, there has been contentious debate between policy makers and community activists as to whether marijuana should be legalized. A 2012 poll conducted by Angus Reid Global found about 60% of Canadians are in favour of legalization.
Jones said he thinks “the bureaucratic inertia and the institutional interests around maintaining the status quo are very powerful,” and that Canada’s drug laws serve a narrow base of the Conservative Party, “[playing] to those electoral interests irrespective of the broader trends in Canadian public opinion.”
With a federal election coming up in October 2015, will the issue of legalization matter enough to Canadians to push for policy change?