After recent moves to legalize cannabis around the world have begun to gain ground internationally, particularly in Uruguay and the U.S. states of Colorado and Washington, the United Nations has announced its opposition to the legalization movement.
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) of the U.N. has warned that legalizing cannabis poses “a very grave danger to public health” and that the movement has taken place based on “misguided incentives.”
In fact, a report released by the INCB has indicated that following the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, there has been an increase in car crashes due to driving while under the influence of marijuana.
The INCB supports the more traditional stance against drugs. The president of the INCB, Raymond Yans, said, “Drug-traffickers will choose the path of least resistance, so it is essential that global efforts to tackle the drug problem are unified…when governments consider their future policies on this, the primary consideration should be the long-term health and welfare of the population.”
Uruguay became the first country to legalize marijuana after its legislature passed a bill in December 2013. The law allows the country to regulate all aspects of the drug, including the sale and the production. The law permits Uruguayans older than 18 years old to register for marijuana at their local pharmacies before being able to buy up to 1.4 ounces of the drug.
The president of Uruguay, José Mujica, has stated that with the new law he hopes to fight the drug trafficking cartels in the region and to reduce incentives for beginning harder drugs. This viewpoint has been criticized in the INCB report, which states that legalization would not reduce the blackmarkets for the marijuana and that widespread use of the drug after legalization would only cause increasing addiction and greater use of other, more illicit drugs.
In Colorado, the sale of marijuana for recreational use became legal in January, after 55% of Coloradans voted in approval of legalizing it. People over the age of 21 may buy up to one ounce of marijuana. The retail marijuana has a tax of 25% state tax plus 2.9% of the normal state sales tax. Out of the expected $67 million in revenue, roughly $27.5 million is to be used to build schools and help with other educational expenses.
– Jeff Meyer