Uruguay is facing criticism, as the UN’s drug body, supporting the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), lashed out at the country for allegedly breaking international law, after it legalized the consumption and growing of the plant on Tuesday.
“Uruguay is breaking the international conventions on drug control with the cannabis legislation approved by its congress,” said the INCB, citing several reasons why it thinks Uruguay has made a mistake, among them the purported health risks associated with the plant’s use, the drug body said on its website.
Uruguay has become the first country in the world to legalize both the sale and production of marijuana. President Jose Mujica has championed the measure as a way of combating the illegal drug industry that has decimated parts of Uruguay.
Under the new law, production of small amounts, as well as consumer clubs – both under strict supervision of the government – will also be permitted.
The country’s parliament passed the bill with a vote of 16 to 13. Senator Alberto Couriel, a member of the ruling Broad Front left-wing coalition, called the passing of the bill “a historic day” for Uruguay.
The INCB, who struck out against the new measure, is essentially an independent organization for promoting international compliance with the existing conventions on drug control.
Uruguay’s move to legalize marijuana breaks treaty: INCB
(Reuters) – Uruguay’s legalization of marijuana violates an international drug control convention and fails to consider a negative health impact, a body set up to monitor compliance with the five-decade-old treaty said on Wednesday.
The president of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Raymond Yans, said the change would not protect young people but would rather have the “perverse effect of encouraging early experimentation” and lowering the age of first use.
Adding weight to the criticism of Tuesday’s move by Uruguay – the first country to take such a step – the U.N. anti-drugs office said it agreed with the INCB and that states should work closely together to deal with the global drugs challenge.
“It is unfortunate that, at a time when the world is engaged in an ongoing discussion on the world drug problem, Uruguay has acted ahead of the special session of the U.N. General Assembly planned for 2016,” David Dadge, spokesman for the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said.