Russia is not a fan of Canada’s legalization of cannabis

The legalization of cannabis has a new deadline. As of October 17th of this year, Canada will be quite different.

In a statement released last month, a Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the International Organizations in Vienna, Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov, has stated Russia’s distaste for Canada’s legalization of recreational marijuana.

Published by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ulyanov has argued that the Liberal government’s implementation of the Cannabis Act contravenes Canada’s international treaty obligations.

Russia is accusing Canada of disregarding the United Nations’ International Narcotics Control Board by legalizing marijuana.

In regard to the legality of Canada’s implementation, Russia has stated that, “When implemented, this undertaking will tangibly breach the UN drug control conventions, which as we all know limit the production and use of drugs exclusively to medical and scientific purposes.”

In other words, the legalization of marijuana for non-medical purposes is in violation of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. In legalizing cannabis, we are supposedly undermining an international legal drug control framework.

Canada is a member of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and as such is supposed to safeguard the strict adherence to its policies. Instead, it would seem that we are “destroying them from the inside.”

In the past, Canada has signed treaties that were meant to combat the drug trade, limiting the production and sale of drugs for recreational use.

This statement was made in the last month, however, Canada’s plan to legalize marijuana is not new at all—so why did it take this long to release a statement?

Ambassador Ulyanov stated that conventions which we are allegedly in violation of constitute the legacy of the entire international community. This international legacy is founded upon the principle of a common responsibility of all member states, including Canada.

It is well known that marijuana is legalized in parts of the United States, so why aren’t they getting hassled?  Uruguay also legalized marijuana for recreational purposes back in 2013, which is also in violation of various international treaties. Yet Uruguay has yet to suffer backlash at the international level. What makes Canada’s legalization plan so worthy of comment?

The commission promises that if our legalization goes through, it will become a subject of thorough scrutiny, noting the upcoming 2019 ministerial review of the global drug control situation.

The question now becomes Canada’s response: will we still see cannabis legalized on October 17th, 2018?