Can The United Nations Block US MJ Legalization? 
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Can The United Nations Block US MJ Legalization? 
Posted by CN Staff on September 25, 2013 at 09:31:42 PT
By Keith Humphreys
Source: Huffington Post
World -- The United Nations International Narcotics Control Board's latest annual report expressed dismay at the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado and urged "the Government of the United States to take necessary measures to ensure full compliance with the international drug control treaties in its entire territory". This led many media outlets to report that the U.S. had violated the UN drug control treaties to which it is a signatory. U.S. obligations under the treaties, and indeed the broader international future of marijuana legalization, are complex matters. But the essential points can be summarized in a 4-part Q&A.
1. Is the U.S. currently in violation of the UN treaties it signed agreeing to make marijuana illegal? No. The U.S. federal government is a signatory to the treaty, but the States of Washington and Colorado are not. Countries with federated systems of government like the U.S. and Germany can only make international commitments regarding their national-level policies. Constitutionally, U.S. states are simply not required to make marijuana illegal as it is in federal law. Hence, the U.S. made no such commitment on behalf of the 50 states in signing the UN drug control treaties. Some UN officials believe that the spirit of the international treaties requires the U.S. federal government to attempt to override state-level marijuana legalization. But in terms of the letter of the treaties, Attorney General Holder's refusal to challenge Washington and Colorado's marijuana policies is within bounds. 2. Can the UN punish countries that legalize marijuana? Only to a small degree. The UN International Narcotics Control Board is the keeper of the drug treaties and regularly chastises governments that violate their commitments. This can be embarrassing in international diplomatic circles, but no nation has ever collapsed due to embarrassment.Because the International Narcotics Control Board has power over the production and transport of the legal medical supply of drugs it could in theory punish a country that legalized marijuana by imposing punitive controls on pain medications. But the international humanitarian outcry over such an action would be enormous. Further, the countries that produce the most opiate painkillers are not easy to push around (e.g., Australia, India, The United States). It is thus safe to assume that crimping the medical supply of drugs is a trigger that the Narcotics Control Board is not going to pull.3. Does the entire UN drug treaty system need to be undone in order for countries to legalize recreational marijuana? No. Marijuana is just one of many psychoactive substances made illegal by the UN drug control treaties. Some drug legalization activists hope that if support for marijuana legalization grows internationally, it will require all UN drug treaties to be revised, thereby granting an opportunity to legalize cocaine, heroin and every other drug at the same time. This is a misreading both of international political sentiment and UN protocol.Even among nations with some sympathy towards marijuana legalization, there is minimal enthusiasm for allowing, say, the Phillip Morris corporation to sell cocaine legally throughout the world as it does cigarettes. If the price of changing UN treaties regarding marijuana is legalizing all drugs, many otherwise sympathetic nations will vigorously oppose the action.But as it happens, it's a moot point because under U.N. protocol, new treaties supersede old treaties. Thus, if the nations of the world ever agree that they want to legalize recreational marijuana, they can write a new treaty focused just on that drug. This would nullify only the marijuana-related provisions of the overall UN drug control framework, leaving the status of other currently illegal drugs unaffected. 4. Wouldn't a new UN marijuana drug treaty just be a vehicle for the U.S. to push its tough marijuana policies worldwide? Get ready for a surprise. If all nations adopted current U.S. marijuana policy, the result would be significant relaxation of international control over marijuana. Prior to the Obama Administration, a Rand Corporation study found that the level of marijuana enforcement in the U.S. was similar to that of Western Europe. Since Obama was elected, marijuana enforcement intensity has plummeted and the federal government has dropped its longstanding opposition to state-level marijuana decriminalization and legalization efforts. Last but not least, remember that the only legal recreational marijuana markets in the world are not in the Netherlands or in Portugal but right here in the United States. Transplanting current U.S. marijuana policy worldwide via a new UN treaty would mean somewhat more liberal marijuana control policy in Europe, and dramatically more relaxed policy in most of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. In short, supporters of marijuana legalization don't really need to worry about the UN drug control treaties. Whether marijuana legalization sweeps the world or not depends on something far more fundamental: What people around the world decide is the best approach to the drug.Source: Huffington Post (NY)Author: Keith Humphreys, Professor of Psychiatry, Stanford UniversityPublished: September 25, 2013Copyright: 2013, LLC Contact: scoop huffingtonpost.comWebsite:   -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on September 27, 2013 at 15:38:27 PT
It does put everything in the proper light. Our neighbor just passed away from an aneurysm in his brain. Since we don't know when our time is going to be up I try to live each day like it could be my last. If we do that we won't have too many regrets. Life is but a vapor.
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Comment #13 posted by museman on September 27, 2013 at 14:00:08 PT
Watching that process is a sobering, grounding experience. I seem to be surfing a wave of it at the moment.Puts things in perspectives and enables one to learn (if one doesn't already know) some real basic values of our existence here in this life. These experiences (for me anyway) highlight the Imperative and Priority of Love above all other considerations. And i do recognize the struggle we all have with it.
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Comment #12 posted by mexweed on September 27, 2013 at 12:51:22 PT:
 runruff, museman
Thank you for your testimony! Speaking for myself, I am personally ignorant of the highpriced vaporizers and don't know why they would not work as well medicinally-- as well as what? Have you tried rebreathing via a breathbonnet (increases cannabinoid absorption without adding any additional toxins) after a toke from either a pipe or a vaporizer? In my experience the issue with pipes is not the material used but the size of the screened crater-- if narrow enough, you have best control over the entry air temperature (therefore I mainly use socket wrenches or hose nipples in the quarter-inch, 6-mm or 7/32"=5.5-mm diam. range)-- by holding the flame far enough below the opening while sucking. A good sign is that the herb darkens without yet starting to glow! Perhaps some of the pipes you guys made are narrow enough to bring this off? Or a socket wrench or other metal insert can convert a wide-bowl model to quarter-inch format? But here a confession: after 10-19 seconds I do let it start glowing. This final burnout (a) loosens ashes etc. which I suck out and eat (minerals!) and (b) dries things to make the screen easier to clean by gently scratching with 2-inch safety pin-- which is wirebraided to the device at the junction between head and drawtube-- while sucking through drawtube.If during the initial no-glow VAPE period you have removed (inhaled) the desirable vaporable cannabinoids, then this final burnout wastes only minimal value (left-over cellulose). And it provides the strong taste which helps you think you are getting your medicine.If you want to contribute further to this issue try signing in with a user name at and edit/add especially pictures, also text improvements, to the article "12 Ways to Make Smoke Pipes from Everyday Objects" (top two sections) and related articles about screen-making and herb-sifting listed at the bottom of that article.If, pursuant to this equipment reform, we can formulate a proposal to the UN to define cannabis as an herb (vapor) and carbon monoxide as a "Narcotic" we may be on the way to turning prohibition into past history worldwide.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on September 27, 2013 at 12:05:36 PT
I know that you are right. I love having 4G speed but I can only hurry up and then stop or go over. You reach your cap if you really are enjoying music and videos. We are hanging in there and just waiting. Hospice can't believe how he is hanging on with no food or water for so long. At least we all got together and visited him a week or so ago. He had been blind but he saw us that night. We know he saw us because he pointed to the clock and said it was 6 PM. After that night he slipped quickly. 
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Comment #10 posted by museman on September 27, 2013 at 11:32:20 PT
Things are changing. I'm still creating, but the net is getting more and more big brother/$$$ oriented every day. Just the other day two of my videos were stopped by youtube. They're back now, but the anecdotal evidence is mounting of some kind of Government Monitoring and forced censorship of 'social network' sites like facebook and youtube to name the mainstream examples. My own site has been hacked, hi-jacked, and still partially damaged.The bandwidth cap is criminal in my esteem. But then that is the capitalist Amerikan Way!I just lost a good friend -I'd mentioned him a few weeks ago- who was the admin of another site I have frequented "The Cynical Bastards." The day after he passed, one of our members posted that he felt the government was 'homing in' on him. Suddenly there were government bots all over the site, sweeping everything, including the music and videos. If I felt a disposition towards paranoia, I'd find plenty of fuel just laying around...But the conclusion I have made, is that any apparent concessions made by this government -as a whole, not individuals- are compromises with our liberties, and not those of the ruling wealthy class. The definition of liberty has now, without a doubt, become embedded with the capitalist/materialistic/mammon propaganda of the 'substance' of money and little else.The net is becoming real estate owned by the same ilk that own most of the rest of the world.I'm afraid my little poor homestead may not be able to pay the 'net tax' much longer.It was fun while it lasted.I hope and pray the Spirit is with you, your family and your friends at this time of tribulation.Peace
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on September 27, 2013 at 11:04:28 PT
I miss listening to music online. It was great when I could but now that Verizon has a 10 GB cap I have to slow down and watch my usage. Maybe someday they will give us unlimited bandwidth like it was.
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Comment #8 posted by museman on September 27, 2013 at 10:17:15 PT
You are a colloquialism! People use that word like an insult! It's meaning applies to 'Just Folk' and is often used as a connotative term by those who feel they are above just folk as a slur implying their own superiority, usually accompanied by vocabularies carefully studied to appear intellectual to the uninitiated.Once I had some music on a now defunct 'mp3 site' and a music-industry-oriented musician commented that my music was 'too colloquial' for Rock 'n Roll!' Well having grown up with Elvis, transitioned to the Beatles in my teens, and run the entire gamut of the genre in ways the 'up-and-comers' couldn't possibly understand, I laughed at the ignorance and watched that site go off into obscurity.Well, it is true, I am a 'folk rock musician.' And my colloquialism is my concession to the people (not that it really matters much any more), but the mockery of the pretenders I can do without.Often I am accused of 'wordiness' and using 'too big of words.' At first I took this in, mulled it over for a few years, and then realized that if the people choose to be ignorant of their own language, then they kind of deserve the mockery that comes from the many pseudo intellectuals out there -mostly academic establishmentarians, lauded by mainstream as 'accomplished' who speak 'high brow' as if it were a badge of office or something. I have been confused in association with this ilk far more often than I'd like, but ignorance is its own institution, no matter how big the vocabulary, or the snide way it is used.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #7 posted by museman on September 27, 2013 at 09:40:45 PT
the UN
Un-leash the power of the people. Un-regulate liberty. Un-do the many generations of the rule of the rich. Un-make the false "Statutes and Ordinances" that have turned this country from the Land of the Free, to the Land of the Fee. Un-lawyer the political arena. Un-empower the capitalist carpetbaggers attempting to cash in on the labor of generations, as if they were more deserving merely because of their capital.There is smoke, and there is Holy Smoke. One can cause all kinds of issues, the other,...well if one does not understand the Holy and Sacred, they need to be schooled, quickly if we are going to save this culture.I made pipestone and wood, bamboo, clay, and various other combinations of pipes over the years. I have tried vaporizers and tho the high is thick and heavy, there is way too much missing from the experience.I would like to have a vaporizer myself, just for the option of it, but I can't afford the capitalist, carpetbagger "Designer pipes" that are on the market at this time. I have researched the options and don't need any shopping advice, or quotes of 'good deals.' I'll stick with the simple, easy, and what works, No profit in that for the new 'cannabis entrepreneurs' but then I'm pretty sure I don't want to give it to them anyway. Not when I can make my own in an afternoon if need be. Besides, vaporizers don't work as well medicinally, they seem to me to be more like party accessories than efficient delivery of medicinal doses. IMOLEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #6 posted by runruff on September 26, 2013 at 18:31:22 PT
See how badly I spelled colloquialisms?
Let that be a lesson to you all! If you have spell check, use it!
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Comment #5 posted by runruff on September 26, 2013 at 10:37:38 PT
Pipes and language?
Obsolete means, no longer in use.I will use colocialisms, slang, antiquited verbage, foreign language, sign language, facial expressions, body language, wink my eye. I am a communicater. I use any means to communicate. I am a smoker, I use any means to smoke my herb! I own a fancy table model vaporizer, two portable vaporizers, three metal pipes, one pipe stone, pipe and two packs of "Skunk Brand" 1-1/2 width sized rolling papers.I do not take issue with anyone here at C/News over anything at all? I am priviledged to have been welcomed into the lives of some of the finest people I have ever known right here. Faults? Maybe they have some? I haven't noticed any, but that is not my interest here, so...
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Comment #4 posted by mexweed on September 26, 2013 at 09:18:35 PT:
Legalization progress through word redefinitions?
1. Does an organization named International NARCOTICS Control Board have any legitimate function regarding cannabis? (As Swazi-X points out, the USA pushed this organization and presumably the title language in the first place.) For decades "official" language like this served as a scam miseducation device to trick millions of na´ve citizens into believing cannabis was a "drug" or a "narcotic".2. Humphreys makes the case that the US attitude toward cannabis is in some ways more lenient than other countries or the US-spawned INCB. My take is, in recent decades Big 2WackGo, the main force behind cannabis prohibition, has been losing power in the US ($igarette addiction now down to 18% of adults) while GAINING it in developing nations. I don't have a percentage figure how much of total government revenue in US is from $igarette taxes, but I have seen a figure of 10% for Pakistan, 8% for Russia and Malaysia, 7.5% for China (the govt. owns the $igarette factories) etc. Worldwide the H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide $igarette industry maintains cannabis prohibition through its stooge governments dpendent on the $igarette tax and their vote at the UN.3. Can't agree with GCW's blanket dismissal of UN, I favor "Forgive--->Convert--->Redeploy." The agency is there with its subagencies and trained officers, let's work out something positive for them to do and instruct them in cogently reasoned, aggressively published memo's? I would direct attention to the promotion of VAPORIZATION instead of "smoking", and to the need to make BILLIONS OF LONG-STEMMED ONE-HITTERS replacing the 500-mg "joint" with a 25-mg single toke serving size. A worldwide organization needs to develop a department which will achieve this re-education (of over a billion tobacco users and several hundred million cannabis users).4. I appreciate runruff's feisty spirit but differ on the obsolete language enshrined in the poetry part of r's message. Why ever mess with "a big toke" when you can get all the creative paranoia anyone needs (More Marley, Less Monoxide) from one or two 25-mg single servings? 
"Blowing it [in someone's faces]"? I think you'll make a stronger (and friendlier) statement for the herb if you use a Breath-bonnet (breadbag, etc.) and visibly rebreathe the vapors yourself 1-2 dozen times (they see the bag flating and deflating and get the Conservative message). "Trail of smoke wafting up from my pipe"-- a big enough toke that you waste some of the vapors (and still thinking in terms of "smoke")? It is possible to entirely avoid ever wasting any escape vapors slowsucking a long-stemmed one-hitter-- and maintain the politeness factor winning the confidence of others that you can keep it out of "their faces". Forgive my clumsy efforts monologuing here, I'm no expert on international relations but just trying to help work out a "smart" (forgive me, Kevin) negotiation strategy that will get our planet free from the punishment-obsession that underlay this cannabis prohibition thing for so long.
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on September 25, 2013 at 19:19:18 PT
Yeah, well?
What about Israel, Portugal, Spain, China and that little South American country and my house? Cannabis has always been legal in my house and there-in lies their biggest problem because I ain't gonna play their way no how! I am the rebel who sat there in my easy chair and took a big toke off of my pipe and blew it into the faces of 40 gun toting goons of the DEA! They could have killed me then. They can kill me tomorrow but I will not behave like a good boy! I will die free like I was born. I am as free as the trail of smoke wafting up from my pipe and joining the passing breeze. I am the smoke, I am the breeze, I am free!
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on September 25, 2013 at 18:57:29 PT
The U.N. doesn't exist to the average cannabist.
The guys on the corner, the customer at the legal cannabis sales store or the people at the party don't care what the U.N. does or thinks. Never has, never will. Cannabis is extremely popular, relatively safe, people know it and continuing U.N. policy / law is bogus.Since state officials can not confront people legally using cannabis, that leaves it up to the Feds and they don't have any officers around to waste on such nonsense. THE U.N. HAS NOBODY TO ENFORCE ANYTHING regarding God's green plant. Where is the U.N. officer who is going to knock down the door?-And right now citizens are telling the Feds what to do with their cannabis prohibition, persecution and extermination.Nobody gives a thought to the U.N.The U.N. doesn't exist.
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Comment #1 posted by Swazi-X on September 25, 2013 at 17:58:52 PT
Great piece making clear the truth about international laws and the U.N. Since we're the bullies who intimidated and forced the other countries to ratify these drug war mandates in the first place, it's a bit ironic to learn exactly how those laws don't actually apply to us at the state level. Harry "The Punk" Anslinger is spinning in his grave right now. May he never rest in peace...Thanks for clearing the air on this issue. Drug warriors=0, Logic and common sense=1.
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