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UN Drug Agencies Fret over Uruguay Marijuana Vote

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #795)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues

Wednesday night's vote in the Uruguayan chamber of deputies to approve state-run marijuana commerce would make the South American nation the first to create legal pot markets, and that's making United Nations anti-drug bureaucracies nervous. Both the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) issued statements Thursday fretting about the vote.

Uruguay hasn't legalized the marijuana market yet -- that will require a vote in the Uruguayan Senate this fall -- but the Vienna-based UN organs aren't waiting. Charged with enforcing the global drug prohibition regime, and its legal backbone, the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and successor treaties, the INCB and UNODC are raising the alarm about the apparent looming breach of the treaty.

"The INCB has noted with concern a draft law under consideration in Uruguay which, if adopted, would permit the sale of cannabis herb for non-medical use," INCB head Dr. Raymond Yans said in a statement. "Such a law would be in complete contravention to the provisions of the international drug control treaties, in particular the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, to which Uruguay is a party."

The INCB said it had always "aimed at maintaining a dialogue with the government of Uruguay" and complained that Montevideo wasn't paying attention to it. "The Board regrets that the government of Uruguay refused to receive an INCB mission before the draft law was submitted to parliament," Yans said.

The statement further urged Uruguayan leaders "to ensure that the country remains fully compliant with international law which limits the use of narcotic drugs, including cannabis, exclusively to medical and scientific purposes" and warned that legalization "might have serious consequences for the health and welfare of the population and for the prevention of cannabis abuse among the youth."

The UNODC, for its part, said in its statement that it supported the INCB statement and was continuing "to follow developments in Uruguay closely."

But, perhaps signaling a belated recognition that the global drug prohibition regime is increasingly tattered, the UNODC acknowledged that the results of enforcing drug prohibition, including "horrorific violence" related to black market drug trafficking have "led to a debate over best to address such problems."

UNODC said it "welcomes this discussion," but that "this dialogue should be conducted on the basis of the agreed conventions, in line with international law. It invited nations to talk about it all at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting next year.

In the meantime, Uruguay isn't waiting, and there is little the UN anti-drug agencies can do about except shout from their bully pulpits.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


John Sergovich (not verified)

The United League of Nations "limits the use of narcotic drugs, including cannabis, exclusively to medical and scientific purposes". It seems obvious to me that Uruguay is undertaking a great experiment in the social and political sciences. Let's hope that this experiment can be widely replicated and reviewed. 

Sat, 08/03/2013 - 11:40am Permalink
Robert P (not verified)

Any UN Narcotics Control Board that can't stand the heat and light of the popular opinion of a free and peaceful people in managing the internal affairs of their own country - a UN entity that presumes to tell those people what is best for their children - clearly has not the moral authority to support its quasi-judicial assignment.

Yet, these are the considerations of President Obama and his DOJ-leader, Holder, and drug czar, Gil (don't call me czar) Kerlikowske in refusing to "receive" the growing support in the US for at least adjusting  - if not removing - the classification of cannabis in the Schedule of Controlled Substances.  This they could do in coordination with the executive's own Food and Drug Agency and Drug Enforcement Agency.  Like the narcs of the world, they are waiting for the people to lead them from their darkness.

Thanks to Uruguay, Colorado, and Washington, the sound of grumbling narcs heading for the exits is increasing.

Sat, 08/03/2013 - 12:59pm Permalink
Valient (not verified)

Why is it that policies regarding science and medicine are increasingly being controlled by politicians and law enforcement instead of scientists and doctors. And by scientists and doctors, I mean ones who aren't paid lobbyists for anti-whatever groups.

Why is the UNODC not focusing on Afghanistan getting rid of the poppy fields that the US planted after burning down all of the cannabis that was there? Considering that prescription opiates are the rising cause of death across the world, you would think their priorities might be there instead of the plant that keeps disproving the biased or unscientific research studies and keeps producing studies that prove it beneficial and nonharmful compared to even basic food staples.

Sat, 08/03/2013 - 5:34pm Permalink

The United Nations was primarily made as the tool of the international bankers. It is based on false fundamental dichotomies, promoting impossible ideals, which always cause the opposite to happen in the real world. The United Nations is an All-Star collection of professional liars, and immaculate hypocrites. Being based on false fundamental dichotomies regarding the analysis of human behaviour enables the best liars to lie better. In fact, governments are simply the local, well-organized gangs of criminals, or territorial gangsters, while those governments are covertly directed by internationally organized, better gangsters, the banksters.


The war on (some) drugs is a war based on deceits, whose primary purpose was to maintain and advance systems of social slavery. On a deeper level of analysis, it is important to recognize that "freedom" can not create energy out of nothing, nor send energy to nothing. Human realities operate within natural laws. However, those energy laws manifest through civilizations in ways which people deliberately ignore and lie about, for reasons which can be understood by understanding those energy laws themselves!

It is a general principle of energy systems that the most labile component controls the system, In the human context, that means that the most dishonest and violent people control civilization. In the real world, "good government" is actually done by the "best organized criminals." The general principle that energy goes down the path of least resistance means that, in the human world, things always happen along the path of least morality.

Human realities are always organized systems of lies, operating organized robberies. The only possible solutions to political problems are to continue to muddle through the madnesses that society is being controlled by the people who are the best at being deceitful, and backing that up with violence. The only effective responses are to attempt to organized better systems of resistance, which then can change what the paths of least resistance become in the future.

The United Nations represents the relative runaway triumph of the biggest bullies, paying professional liars and hypocrites to get together, in order to agree with each other's lies and hypocrisies.  Marijuana laws are merely the single simplest symbol, and the most extreme particular example, of the general pattern of social situations. IN FACT, hemp is the single best plant on the planet for people, and that was WHY pot prohibition was created and promoted. To stand up against the UN role in that takes a government led by someone like José Mujica, who, I believe, had these events in his biography:

"... Mujica was captured by the authorities on four occasions, and he was among those political prisoners who escaped Punta Carretas Prison in 1971. He was eventually re-apprehended in 1972, and was shot by the police six times. After the military coup in 1973,  he was transferred to a military prison where he served 14 years. During the 1970s, this included being confined to the bottom of a well for more than two years ..."

It makes sense that only a President with a personal history like that would be able and willing to stand against the globalized forces represented by the United Nations, at least on the issue of marijuana laws. From what I can tell, Mujica does NOT understand enough about the real history of hemp to understand the deeper social and symbolic meanings about marijuana laws, and thus, the full significance of changing those laws (other than the superficial issues that pot prohibition always backfired, and made things worse.)

The criminalization of cannabis clearly illustrates how and why our human ecology and political economy became more and more MAD, since our civilization is controlled by huge lies, backed up by lots of violence, with respect to everything, and especially with respect to our monetary systems, due to those being backed up by the history of our murder systems.

Unfortunately, the kind of HUGE LIES promoted by the UNITED NATIONS are too much believed in by too many people, especially when it comes to regarding social problems through ideas based on false fundamental dichotomies, and their related impossible ideals. The deeper problems drove their single most insane manifestation when they asserted that hemp, which IS the single best plant on the planet for people, was, instead, "marijuana that is almost as bad as murder." That social insanity was only possible to be originally made and maintained because the whole civilization was being controlled by those who developed through history to be first the War Kings, and then later, the Fraud Kings, that covertly controlled the powers of the War Kings.

To understand the war on (some) drugs one should trace back the history or warfare in general. Warfare is the oldest and best developed social science, HOWEVER, success in war was based on deceits. Indeed, the oldest book on the Art of War begins by saying that "success in war is based on deceits" and ends by saying that "spies are the most important soldiers."  In order to understand the drug wars more deeply, one has to understand those basic facts about the history of militarism, and thus, the kinds of civilizations which were created through being developed in the crucible of conflicts, whereby those who were the best at being dishonest, and backing that up with violence, PREVAILED.

Our whole society is actually controlled by the maximum possible deceits, which our marijuana laws show most starkly. Moreover, it is vital to not get hung up when going more deeply into understanding that process by collapsing back to false fundamental dichotomies, and their related impossible ideals, when we turn towards proposing solutions for these kinds of chronic political problems.

IN FACT, THE DEATH CONTROLS WERE, AND MUST BE, THE CENTRAL CONTROLS. The debt controls depend on the death controls, within a combined money/murder system. This history of the funding of the political processes explains how and why it was possible for huge lies about hemp to become the basis of the law, and be enforced for decade after decade, despite it being plainly obvious that those laws were based on huge lies. However, no superficial solutions to those problems are sufficient, since the CHRONIC political problems are that there IS, and MUST BE, some kind of human ecology, within which a political economy operates.

The primary economic system throughout most of history was some form or another of slavery, which was rationalized by various kinds of racisms. The drug wars segued from that situation, where huge lies about some drugs were substituted and replaced in order to continue to achieve the same social purposes as the previous, more blatant, forms of social slavery did. However, "ending slavery" or "ending the drug wars" should not be proposed on the basis of false fundamental dichotomies, or on the basis of realizing some impossible ideals, since that is guaranteed to continue to actually backfire badly in the real world.

Instead, we should face the basic social facts that there IS, and MUST BE, some sort of social death control systems, and work towards resolving the paradoxical problems that human history has been based on resolving our chronic political problems through the means of the maximum possible deceits. The underlying reasons WHY the single best plant on the planet for people was rebranded as "marijuana, which is almost as bad as murder" were that EVERYTHING ELSE IS ALSO BEING CONTROLLED BY HUGE LIES, ESPECIALLY THE MONEY SYSTEM, WHICH FEEDS BACK TO CONTROL THE POLITICAL SYSTEMS, WHICH THEN CONTINUE TO MAINTAIN THE ESTABLISHED MONETARY SYSTEMS.

The deeper sources of the war against (some) drugs are the sources of ALL wars, and the reasons why that war on drugs is based on huge lies, which are deliberately maintained, are the same as ALL the rest of our problems.  Marijuana laws are merely the most extreme symbol of those overall phenomena, and therefore, the symbolism of any country in the world opting out of that system of huge lies that controls marijuana is very SYMBOLIC. However, to more fully understand the meaning of that social symbol, or cultural catalyst, we should appreciate the profoundly paradoxical politics which evolved on the basis of the history of victory in warfare, which was that success depended upon deceits.

Some deep deceits are that the ruling classes are who they are because they are the best at being dishonest, and backing that up with violence. The even deeper deceits are DENYING that there must be some system of death controls, and there ARE. However, the United Nations represents the manifestation of triumphant lying about that, while promoting impossible ideals about how to think about and resolve those problems.

If Uruguay follows through with "legalizing marijuana" despite the United Nations, that will be an extremely significant symbolic turning of the tide, with respect to the ways that the international banksters currently are able to control almost the whole world. Controlling the world through enforcing huge lies drives civilization towards a series of psychotic breakdowns, because the violence that backs up those lies can never make those lies become true, but only make social become more mad. Pot prohibition is headed towards a series of psychotic breakdowns, while that is a small component of the the overall bigger systems, which are also headed towards a series of much more serious psychotic breakdowns, due to the paradoxes of final failure from too much "success" at controlling civilization with huge lies.

The criminalization of cannabis, and the possible ending of that, is the most symbolic single issue in that overall context, while Uruguay is currently a leading edge in the manifestation of those developments. Of course, the backlash from the established systems remains to be seen ... Tragically, the marijuana issue is relatively trivial, in the overall context of how utterly insane and irrational most of our civilization has become ... But nevertheless, any slight measures towards ending the insane deceits manifesting in the madness of the drug wars would still be a good sign!

Sat, 08/03/2013 - 7:01pm Permalink
kickback (not verified)

Cannabis , according to everything I know about it , is a " PLANT " . The prohibitionists clowns want the public to think " drug " when they see a Cannabis " PLANT " .  Only a fool spends ungodly sums of $$$ and destroys human life over a " PLANT " . The Guns are sold freely and are legal . Go to Walmart and buy a gun . Get caught with a Cannabis " PLANT " and go to jail . You do the math . This ain`t rocket science folks .

Sun, 08/04/2013 - 2:14am Permalink
Pity Partypooper (not verified)

Poor Dr. Yans, no one will listen to him or pay any attention to his hand-wringing.  "Bully pupit?" More like bulls**t pulpit. Do have to feel a little sorry for him, though. The way things are going, pretty soon he is going to have to go find a real job...

Thu, 08/08/2013 - 5:00pm Permalink
Dr Jane (not verified)

While the UN Conventions are often cited by conservatives as an obstacle to drug law reform, the 1988 Convention actually states that possession, use and supply should only be prohibited if prevailing conditions “render this the most effective way of protecting the public health and welfare.” (Article 2(5)(b)). T


he convention allows any member state to experiment with any policy designed to more effectively achieve these goals.

Dr Jane.

Fri, 08/09/2013 - 3:09am Permalink
Kim (not verified)

If the UN statement is true, it puts the US in violation for not allowing medical use and research.

Sat, 08/10/2013 - 12:35pm Permalink
Rural WA (not verified)

Within the Human Rights components of the UN there is already criticism of the Single Convention and similar treaties and/or specific matters of interpretation or application of them as violations of human rights and related questions about their validity when conflicting with other UN treaties and even conflict with the UN Charter which is the most fundamental UN international agreement among member states (i.e., nations who are members of the UN). I hope Stop The Drug War will publicize this more and also give greater attention to the problems within the US as a whole and specific states relating to denial of access to medicines, infliction of torture and other great harms through denial/prohibition of access to medicines, discrimination such as Washington state's horrendous not-so-new-anymore laws which verge on prohibition of effective treatment of non-cancer chronic pain, religious and social class discrimination through perverse drug laws, the inhumane and degrading treatment of suspected "drug seekers" and of prisoners and a very long list of deprivation of rights and other evils committed through a wide variety of drug related laws. Indeed, over the last few decades there has been the development and imposition of a primitive demonic pantheistic ideology which amounts to a state religion in practice. I believe CSA stands for Creed of Substance Abuse as much as it stands for Controlled Substances Act and is potentially as harmful as the religious intolerance and warfare of the Seventeenth Century in what is now the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland; intolerance and its consequences which the Founders of the United States very much wished to prevent the existence of in this nation.

Wed, 08/14/2013 - 8:59pm Permalink

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