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CANADA AND THE UN SINGLE CONVENTION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS

Landmark Cannabis Act is live

On October 17th, the use of medical marijuana became legal in Canada in a move the Government hopes will take the once illegal market away from organised crime.   The passing of the landmark Cannabis Act in June made Canada the only G-7 nation and the second country after Uruguay to legalize cannabis nationwide.

The three treaties Canada is a signatory to are: (1) the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, as amended by the 1972 Protocol Amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, (2) the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971, and (3) the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988

By making cannabis legal for non-medical purposes Canada is now in violation of all three treaties. 

The United Nations (UN) created the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 to limit the possession, use, trade, distribution, import & export of specific narcotic drugs and drugs with similar effects except under licence for medical or scientific purposes.  It was also set up to stop drug trafficking with international co-operation to discourage drug traffickers and end illegal trade  (Source: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/commissions/CND/conventions.html )

Withdrawal from the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961

The withdrawal terms of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, as amended by the 1972 Protocol Amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, and the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971 are somewhat different. Both of these Treaties require withdrawal notices to be provided which Canada has failed to do.

While the world awaits the conclusion of these breaches, Canada is enjoying its lift on prohibition which has been in effect for 95 years. While many provinces including Alberta and Quebec have set the legal age of purchase at 18, other provinces are fixing the age restriction at 19 in line with current alcohol laws. Ontario is still working on its regulations and predicts the first stores to open next spring.

The accounting firm Deloitte predicts the industry will exceed $5bn in 2019 with the majority of that figure coming from the recreational market.

With elections coming up in 2019, the reform is sure to be scrutinised by Canadians and the world in general.  What does this mean for the rest of the world? Will we see the UK legalize a drug which almost 8% of the adult population use?  What we can predict is that the future is going to include cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes.

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”Marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day.”
– Jocelyn Elders, Pediatricain - Surgeon General US 93-94

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