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Single Convention threatened?

September 4, 2013
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Well, no, not really, but it’s fun to actually see articles suggesting that the U.S. should withdraw…

To Make Marijuana Legalization a Reality, This Should be Obama’s Next Step by Jessie Bullock at PolicyMic

Firstly, the U.S. should withdraw from the convention. Withdrawing from the convention is an action recognized by international law, and means that the country no longer wishes to abide by the international guidelines set forth, such as criminalizing the sale or production of marijuana. [...]

Secondly, the United States should select which clauses they wish to opt out of. A forward-thinking president, knowing that legalization of marijuana is imminent, might consider opting out of not only the clauses that prohibit the production, sale, and consumption of marijuana, but also opting out of the clauses that require marijuana possession to be punished. Opting out of all clauses that require marijuana possession to be punished means that the United States wouldn’t have to substitute a criminal penalty (i.e. time in jail, on a criminal record) for a civil penalty (i.e. a ticket or civil fine, which is what most individuals receive when caught using marijuana in states that have decriminalized weed).

Of course, that’s true — a forward-thinking President might do such a thing, and it would be great, but I can’t see it ever happening. Considering that the United States heavily dominates international drug policy even to the point of being the world’s drug cop, it seems much more likely that if and when the U.S. reached a point where the single convention was in its way, change would be done by amendment rather than withdrawal. Sure, Sweden and Russia would oppose amendments, but by the time the U.S. was ready to go there, I can’t imagine that they’d have much trouble making the changes.

I do, however, enjoy with some amusement the image of a United States that has exempted itself from the marijuana provisions of the single convention while the rest of the world still follows it. But if withdrawal for this purpose is going to occur, it’s much more likely that it’ll be done by Latin American and European countries.

Oh, and by the way… the opening paragraph of this piece:

Last week, the Department of Justice announced that the federal government will not prosecute marijuana-based offenses in states that have already legalized marijuana. This is a victory for the marijuana legalization movement, but it does not go far enough.

Um, yeah, you might want to go back and look at what the Department of Justice actually said. It wasn’t this.

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Pete Guither is the editor of drugwarrant.com

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