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UN Drug Watchdog "Concerned" with Marijuana Legalization Votes

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #760)

The president of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) last Thursday voiced "grave concern" about the votes legalizing marijuana in the US states of Colorado and Washington, as well as in the Michigan cities of Detroit and Flint. INCB head Raymond Yans also warned that allowing for the legal, non-medical sale of marijuana would violate the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

INCB President Raymond Yans (
The INCB is a quasi-judicial body charged with monitoring compliance with the Single Convention and associated treaties. It hectors governments that step outside its interpretation of what the treaties allow, although in practical terms, its ability to enforce its will is mainly rhetorical. INCB criticism of Australia and Canada over the establishment of safe injection sites, for example, has not moved those governments to end the practice, nor has its criticism of Bolivia over allowing coca cultivation resulted in a shift of policy in Bolivia.

Yans was inspired to speak out by the victories of Amendment 64 in Colorado and Initiative 502 in Washington state, both of which envisage legal, state-regulated commercial marijuana cultivation and distribution regimes and both of which will result in the possession of small amounts by adults being legal by early next year. The INCB also alluded to the votes in the Michigan cities of Detroit and Flint to legalize the possession of up to an ounce by adults on private property.

"These developments are in violation of the international drug control treaties, and pose a great threat to public health and the well-being of society far beyond those states," Yans said in a statement. "Legalization of cannabis within these states would send wrong and confusing signals to youth and society in general, giving the false impression that drug abuse might be considered normal and even, most disturbingly, safe. Such a development could result in the expansion of drug abuse, especially among young people, and we must remember that all young people have a right to be protected from drug abuse and drug dependency."

This isn't your father's marijuana, Yans warned.

"Since the adoption of this Convention, very potent new forms of cannabis have appeared on the illicit market, and technological advances have been used to increase the content of the most 'active ingredient,' so to speak, in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The cannabis on the illicit market today is much more dangerous than that seen in the 60s and 70s," Yans said.

Yans also noted that "for the international drug control system to function effectively, to achieve its aim of ensuring availability of drugs for medical purposes while preventing their abuse, the conventions must be universally adhered to and implemented by all states." He called on the US government "to take the necessary measures to ensure full compliance with the international drug control treaties within the entire territory of the United States, in order to protect the health and well-being of its citizens."

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.


Jillian Galloway (not verified)

Who cares if it violates the Single Convention? Obviously the Single Convention is a flawed treaty that makes our children LESS safe!

Violate it, end it, pull out of it, who cares?!! This treaty *wasn't* passed down to us from the hand of God and we *aren't* obliged to comply by it when it obviously doesn't meet the goals that it was designed to achieve and it causes our children to be LESS safe than if it didn't exist at all!

Fri, 11/16/2012 - 3:18pm Permalink
michael meier (not verified)

In reply to by Jillian Galloway (not verified)

the single convention is designed by a avowing racist guy named Harry Anslinger. His motives where not to prevent drug abuse but to prohibit growing hemp and one of his argues was: "a black guy who smokes pot thinks he is as good as a white guy"

Wed, 11/28/2012 - 10:40pm Permalink
Jillian Galloway (not verified)


"This isn't your father's marijuana, Yans warned."
Yeah, well this isn't your father's treaty! Your father's treaties worked or they were scrapped. This one *doesn't* work and yet the UN regards it as the holy grail. 
How can anyone have any confidence in a treaty that says "Recognizing that addiction to narcotic drugs [and presumably the use of marijuana as it's also in the Single Convention] constitutes a serious evil for the individual and is fraught with social and economic danger to mankind"?
What a joke!! How does legalizing marijuana like wine constitute a "social and economic danger to mankind"? These people don't know what they're talking about!!
Fri, 11/16/2012 - 3:32pm Permalink
Sasha Dowding (not verified)


The sooner the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is done away with in its entirety the better. The mere fact that it's been over half a century since the Convention was enacted illustrates the need for reevaluation and reform at the United Nations.
It is without doubt the longest running and single most destructive, discriminatory and evil piece of legislature ever enacted in the history of humankind. It has ruined and ended countless thousands of otherwise innocent lives. Drug taking may not be considered behaviour that one would like to encourage but it is certainly not a crime either. It is a human right and part of human nature. People should learn to 'butt out' of other peoples lifestyle choices. If people want to do something worthwhile and noble rather put a stop to conflict or end world hunger and disease.
Fri, 11/16/2012 - 3:36pm Permalink
Mike Parent (not verified)

Please, feel free to refute the Facts, below.  TIA

Lie #1 Gateway Drug.
FACT Marijuana is NOT a Gateway Drug. Here's a 12 Yr Univ Study that says so;.
Andrew Hryckowian - University of Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Raven-... Marijuana is not a.
“gateway” drug.

Lie #2 Marijuana is addictive.
FACT Marijuana is no more addictive and less harmful than Caffeine;.
Dr Henningfield is a former NIDA Staffer;.
Addictiveness of Marijuana -
urce.php? resourceID=1492
In April 1997, after reviewing the literature, Dr. Henningfield changed
his ratings of marijuana and caffeine's tolerance and dependence to 5's.
and 6's.

Lie #'s 3 & 4, Marijuana has no Medicinal Use and is Dangerous.

FACT In 1988, a DEA Administrative judge wrote, in a report.
Commissioned by the DEA; "16. Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of.
the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any
measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a.
supervised routine of medical care."”

FACT For good measure, the CDC reported Med Marijuana doesn't increase teen use.

Fri, 11/16/2012 - 3:57pm Permalink
Carl Olsen (not verified)

The United States wrote the Single Convention in 1961 and signed it in 1967.  It was amended in 1991 for THC (the principle psychoactive ingredient in marijuana).  If the United States could amend that treaty for THC, it can amend that treaty for marijuana.  The International Narcotics Control Board isn't happy about it because they have to tell everyone else on the planet that marijuana is bad if the United States does not get the treaty amended.  Everyone should be allowed to share in this new found revelation that we now like marijuana.  It's just a matter of fairness.  The United States cannot tell the rest of the planet marijuana is bad while it embraces it.  Give the United Nations guy a break, please.  It's not his fault.  It's our fault.  We need to fix it.

Fri, 11/16/2012 - 5:51pm Permalink
mexweed (not verified)

In reply to by saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

See WHO report by Douglas Bettcher, May 30, 2011:

Tobacco note, this means almost entirely hot burning overdose monoxide $igarettes): 6,000,000 deaths a year

Alcohol: 2.500,000 deaths a year

Cannabis: Mr. Bettcher didn't mention any figures (heh, heh)

Someone who has time to send a polite message to the UN figurehead mentioned above might mention those statistics.

The obvious (to me; think it over) reason for the 1961 Convention standpoint on cannabis is that the $igarette Industry controls US government "drug" policy through its tax bribe payments.

Sat, 11/17/2012 - 5:25pm Permalink
Uncle Bob (not verified)

The more outraged we become.  The Internet and the free flow of media and information has forever destroyed these bogus lies and propaganda... the more these politicians and agencies treat the people of the world and especially the citizens of America like ignorant peasants by telling us the most absurd of lies, the more we will reject them.

No one believes marijuana is as bad as heroin... to try to pass this lie off is quite frankly insulting.  You don't have to "trick" me into thinking drugs are bad by telling me lies... what a stupid policy, it stopped working in the 1970s and the fact that it's still done today just shows the gigantic disconnect between citizens and governments around the world... a message to you politicians you are SO out of touch with the people you represent anymore.

Fri, 11/16/2012 - 7:17pm Permalink
John Novak (not verified)

There is no outright prohibition of cannabis in the treaty and countries and states can regulate it.  This dude is full of it.  

Industrial, medical and scientific uses are allowed.  Social uses must be regulated.  It can even be removed or rescheduled.

Fri, 11/16/2012 - 8:30pm Permalink
Paul Pot (not verified)

This is the best the UN can manage, a stern warning and a declaration of indignity. 

The UN has no power!

Is the UN going to impose sanctions against the US?

Of course not. 

Any nation on Earth can legalize drugs now. 

War is Over!

Fri, 11/16/2012 - 9:42pm Permalink
Uncle Bob (not verified)

WHERE is the grave concern for alcohol and tobacco which combined kill nearly half a million in the US alone each year.. WHERE is the grave concern for the thousands of brutal murders in Mexico, Columbia, and South America that stems from the "drug war?"  WHERE is the grave concern about corrupt governments who lie to their people to push a hateful policy of thinly velied class and race oppression upon it's people.


Oh, and by the way, grave concern for the billions of dollars wasted with ZERO progress to show for it (drug use is higher than EVER)


These are MY grave concerns... but no your grave concern is a mostly benign plant that causes mild euphoria and munchies ... as opposed to I dunno, tobacco products which quite literally slowly kill you, or alcohol which is a factor in a huge amount of violent crimes and suicides.  (Something like 58% was it?  of all suicides involve alcohol use?)


ENOUGH with these stupid lies from arrogant people who think of the population as ignorant peasants who will believe any lie.  You offend me.

Fri, 11/16/2012 - 10:10pm Permalink

Great comments so far -- I'm elated to see people speaking truth to lies with force and clarity.

Raymond Yans is just another outrageous prohibition-for-profit fraud -- a phony, evil, immoral, self-serving, posturing *liar* and con artist and he knows it.  It is time for anger and vigorously throwing off the language-games the prohibitionists play.  Know your history.  The anti-drug laws are illegal and illegitimate.  Abolish all the drug schedules -- they aren't from God, they are from Nixon and the lying prohibitionist leaders.  Throw out the bums, these prohibitionist leaders, and *all* of their illegal drug "laws" that are but the laws of demons.  The only laws needed for psychoactive drugs are laws of accurate labeling.

Religion is historically founded on psychoactive visionary plants, which have inspired religious revelation about self-control and time, all throughout history.  Drugs are absolutely for use by young adults during religious initiation, as they have always been used.  Drugs are key to higher education about religion, philosophy, psychology, and psychological maturation.  Protect the children by protecting people: to protect people, help everyone use psychoactives safely during traditional drug-based initiation.

Don't re-legalize drugs "because the evils of drugs are better mitigated through legalizing them" -- rather, legalize drugs, including mushrooms and cannabis, because they are the source of religious and metaphysical enlightenment that the human mind is naturally drawn toward.  Change the story, don't let the liars such as Yans control the conversation.

Stop the lies, the pretence, the insincere posturing; stop prohibition-for-profit.  Return to the drug laws of around 1900, which is to say, eliminate them.  Free the drug-war prisoners.  Stop harassing, persecuting, and discriminating against people using the excuse of the drug war.  You prohibitionist vipers destroy other people for your own financial profit, and then presume to tell the world about morals, health, and safety?!  You evil, lying, phony, malicious con artists!  Off with *your* heads.  *You* are the menace to society that needs to be put away.

Prohibition *is* Evil.  Demonizing drugs is the devil's strategy, to block access to perceiving the transcendent truth about self, control, and time.

Prohibitionist leaders are a menace to humanity and should be rounded up by their own drug squads and be kept in their own prisons.

Remember that many professors, authors, writers, and intellectuals agree with legalization of drugs, but they are censored under the conditions of prohibition.  Speak the full, radical truth loud and clear -- there is a much bigger audience for the truth about psychoactive drugs, than Establishment censorship pretends.

Everything uttered or written by Yans and the other prohibitionist profiteers is the perfect opposite of the truth.  Prohibition is Lies; it is anti-truth.  To arrive at the truth, simply invert everything coming out of the mouth of the prohibitionist leaders.  Everything the prohibitionist self-appointed "officials" say is completely and perfectly false, wrong, and fraudulent, with an almost beautiful purity of fraud, an almost inspiring height of con-artistry.

God gave us drugs as the means of knowing God and truth.  Psychoactive drugs are the Eucharist, the sacrament.  Fully re-legalize psychoactive sacramental drugs, which are God-given so that we may see transcendent truth and be morally regenerated.  Throw out the prohibitionist self-serving bums and their prohibition-for-profit con-artist scam, along with all of their illegitimate, illegal and lawless "laws" and "drug schedules".

-- Cybermonk,

Rapid-navigation portal for drug policy reform sites
Fri, 11/16/2012 - 11:51pm Permalink

Yes after marijuana is legalized we should move to mushrooms and LSD which also cannot kill you, if u eat enough mushrooms you probably quit doing all drugs, and certainly wont even leave ur house as psylocibin paralizes ur muscles so you'll probably lay on the ground in the infraworld driving would never be an option. Nixon's CSA is meant to take all the hippy drugs and pair them with heroin, and now meth, to scare everyone.
Sun, 11/25/2012 - 6:46pm Permalink
kickback (not verified)

Boy , this guy is a real winner . Not a single signatory of that 1961 narcotics crap is obligated to adhere to it . Read the language . Maybe he feels that his job is being threatened . He needs to speak up . Tell another lie or two to keep the deception going . You notice at how the real pigs begin to squeal when the truth is placed before them ? I love it !  The U.N` s position on Cannabis has no credibility at all . How hard it must be to push a lie while standing in the light of truth .

Sat, 11/17/2012 - 1:50am Permalink
CharlieR (not verified)

Well, unfortunately for you, the lies of Prohibition have been proven to the majority of the people.  Cannabis is not a dangerous substance, the LD50=ZERO!  In case you don't know what that means, it means that you cannot die of an overdose.  IMPOSSIBLE!  So, why is it considered dangerous? 

The truth MUST come out, and the people have finally began to SPEAK and pass legislation to that effect.  Cannabis Oil has PROVEN to cure cancer!  The fact that strains have been better developed to be slightly stronger than they were in the past, is totally IRRELEVANT since it cannot kill you..there is NO TOXICITY, in fact, it is quite beneficial for so many ailments it boggles the mind.  It would take pages upon pages to list them, there are so many.  Practically everything benefits from Cannabinoids in your system.  Breast milk has Cannabinoids.

Do some research people, and you will find the truth they have been lying about since Prohibition was granted behind the backs of the American Medical Association in the first place.  At that time, it was the most prescribed medicine.  They called it "Marijuana" rather than it's medical name, "Cannabis", which is why the AMA was kept out of the information loop.

Sat, 11/17/2012 - 4:55pm Permalink
Howard M Gardella (not verified)

No more excuse's for being ignorant about the facts concerning cannabis God made it and it should be grown for it's complete value of many types of use

Sat, 11/17/2012 - 6:44pm Permalink
Cheryl (not verified)

i'm so tired of government loving, big pharm pandering, officials out here trying to use fear and intimidation.  Marijuana regardless of strength has NEVER KILLED A SOUL.  Saying prohibition keeps our kids safe is just fear mongering, common sense says that regulation would keep our kids safer than the current illegal drug market.  With the global economic problems a new market may be just what the economy of the US needs, at least legalization would be a way for government to increase revenue.  The war on drugs has been an epic fail and has cost us billions in taxpayer dollars annually.  The government will never be able to regulate what people choose to put in their bodies, and shouldn't be made criminals because of a plant. 

Sat, 11/17/2012 - 6:59pm Permalink
Carl (not verified)

People who smoke this pot will all die! Eventually. Of old age. But UN global drug policies will continue killing and destroying lives worldwide.

Sat, 11/17/2012 - 9:51pm Permalink
AnonymousToo (not verified)

UN is ADDICTED to $$$$ to fighhting prohibition. The only people who want to keep soft Drugs illegal is Law Enforcement, drug cartels, and Prison Industrial Complex.
Sun, 11/18/2012 - 5:04pm Permalink
DaveMan50 (not verified)

As far as I am concerned he should be. Because if it was up to me I would fire all these pin heads.  Every one in INCB and President Raymond Yans.

Wed, 11/21/2012 - 4:37pm Permalink
BCD4095 (not verified)

"send wrong and confusing signals to youth and society in general" He doesn't want anyone else doing his job?
Thu, 11/22/2012 - 10:05am Permalink
GaryHost (not verified)

INCB President Raymond Yans - "pose a great threat to public health and the well-being of society far beyond those states,"   


That's where he's wrong. The war on drugs is what's been proven to be the real threat to public health and society! There are no scientific dangers with Marijuana Cannabis.


The statements made against marijuana are theoretical. One example, 100 patients with schizophrenic disease are asked if they ever smoked marijuana in their life time. 56 of them answer yes, and this "research" is published as 'smoking marijuana can cause schizophrenia'. How can the UN base their law on such obvious non-scientific propaganda? Even more of them also breathe air, so per the logic in the "research" the Air should be considered a cause for schizophrenia and banned.

But it's not research, it's simple propaganda, and has been discredited by almost every scientist that ever read it, and even more so by authorities on the psychiatric area. They say that schizophrenia is a genetic disease that you are born with, they also go on to criticize the non scientific claims using simple statistics.

The parts of the population that are diagnosed with schizophrenia remains constant, per the logic of the old non-scientific claims, that frequency should atleast go up, or down, as we see changes in frequency of use in marijuana. Like for instance Woodstock festival, everyone of those people smoke pot, then per the non-scientific claims that UN base their law, all of those people should be getting the genetic disease called schizophrenia. And yet the statistics show that no such increase, or variation of frequency has ever happen. 

Arrests, small possession arrests ruins life, and target minorities in society. For a drug that real scientific research show, is less addictive than coffee, has no pronounced negative effect on health, and actually contains multiple substances that are infact very beneficial for the body. [url][/url

So the question remains.. there are no scientific conclusion what so ever that marijuana or cannabis should have any pronounced negative effect. Yet the UN see it fit to keep it outlawed. Whose paying them ?

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 5:46pm Permalink

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