In a written statement shared on Twitter, Russia says Ottawa’s efforts to legalize pot will lead to an increase in international drug trafficking and contradicts existing treaties.
On October 17, Canada became the first G7 country to federally legalize adult-use cannabis, fulfilling a 2015 campaign promise made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. One of the major goals of the new legislation is to eradicate the illicit weed market, which Russia seems to believe will have the opposite effect.
The statement, which called the federal government’s decision “unacceptable” and “hypocritical”, was posted in French on Monday (October 22) via the Russian embassy’s social media.
According to Russian officials, Canada’s “drug liberation” efforts go against several major international treaties, including the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
The translated testimonial reads: “By consciously torpedoing the international drug control regime, the Canadian government is creating the largest drug market in the world that, despite all the claims and measures being considered to prevent the export of cannabis outside national borders, will certainly raise considerable traffic to other states, including those which are strictly adhered to in the spirit and letter of the conventions mentioned.”
Russia isn’t the first country to voice public opposition in light of recent political shifts surrounding cannabis. Yoon Se-jin, head of the Narcotics Crime Investigation Division at a South Korean police agency, issued a warning to South Korean citizens in Canada thinking about smoking pot now that it’s legal.
“Weed smokers will be punished according to the Korean law, even if they did so in countries where smoking marijuana is legal. There won’t be an exception,” he said in a translated articlepublished by the Korean Times last week.
Last Wednesday (October 17), the United Nations (UN) also officially weighed-in by expressing its “regret” regarding Canada’s new drug policies. In a statement by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), officials say the country’s Cannabis Act, which legalizes weed for non-medical purposes, goes against an international agreement countries “have undertaken to limit the production, manufacture, export, import, distribution of, trade in, use and possession of drugs exclusively to medical and scientific purposes.”
President of the INCB Viroj Sumyai said in the annoucement: “While the Board is concerned about the impact of cannabis legalization in Canada on the international consensus embodied in the three United Nations drug control conventions and the related commitments made by the international community at the special session of the General Assembly in 2016, it is also deeply concerned about the public health impact of these policy choices on the health and welfare of Canadians, particularly youth.”
The INCP says it plans to continue to have talks with the Canadian government about cannabis legalization and will “examine the matter” during a meeting set to take place sometime in early November.