Newsbrief: UN Drug Control Chief Warns Canada Not to Legalize Marijuana 9/27/02

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Reacting to the Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs' September 4 report calling for legalization and regulation of marijuana (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/253.html#canadiansenate), the head of the United Nations' global anti-drug bureaucracy warned this week that Canada would make a "significant error" if it followed the committee's advice. Antonio Mario Costa, executive director of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, used a Tuesday interview with the Toronto Globe & Mail to defend marijuana prohibition worldwide.

Although Costa conceded that marijuana has few links with violent crime and lacks the same association with dependency as harder drugs, he called it a health hazard that could only be dealt with by global prohibition, trotting out the familiar canards about marijuana as a "gateway drug" and the higher potency of contemporary marijuana.

"Some of our countries are on the verge of making an error which is as significant as when tobacco spread," said Costa, referring to the Canadian controversy over marijuana. He said that legalization would violate the UN conventions on narcotic drugs. "Just because something can be legalized, it does not become good per se," he added, demonstrating a flair for the non sequitur.

Costa also warned that the West is sending a bad message to other countries with its increasing tolerance of drug use. "The drug scene cannot be parceled out to individual countries," he said. "The drug scene has to be seen in its totality. I've heard very negative comments from developing countries, saying 'We are maintaining a very strong policy of prohibition and what's happening? It's considered with leniency by some northern countries.'"

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Issue #256, 9/27/02 Editorial: The Tulia Lynchings | Medical Marijuana Supporters Rally in Sacramento | WAMM Files Federal Motion for Return of Marijuana Seized in Dispensary Raid | Calling on Students to Raise Your Voices for Repeal of the HEA Drug Provision | Former British Drug Czar Mo Mowlam Calls for Total Global Legalization, Cites Need to Quit Funding Political Violence | UC San Diego Orders Student Group to Drop Hyperlink to FARC Web Site, Cites Patriot Act | Colombian Leader Meets with Bush, Paramilitary Leader to Surrender Following US Indictment | Newsbrief: Putin to Create Russian DEA | Newsbrief: RAVE Act Sheds Another Cosponsor | Newsbrief: Buzzkill -- Venerable DC Weekly Rave Party Dies from Overdose of Ecstasy Enforcement | Newsbrief: UN Drug Control Chief Warns Canada Not to Legalize Marijuana | Newsbrief: French Cannabis Growers Create Facts on Ground | Newsbrief: German Health Ministry Says Safe Drug Centers Save Lives | Do You Read The Week Online? | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision | The Reformer's Calendar
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