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Russia criticizes Canada for legalizing marijuana, says it violates intl law

Russia criticizes Canada for legalizing marijuana, says it violates intl law

Dina Al-Shibeeb
Russia’s foreign ministry made the statement after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced (R) Oct. 17, the date when Canadians will be able to legally purchase and consume recreational marijuana. (File image via AP)

Russia has recently criticized Canada for legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Moscow says Ottawa is violating international law by doing so.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that Moscow believes that legalizing marijuana directly violates Ottawa’s international commitments.

The ministry made the statement after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Wednesday that Oct. 17 is the date when Canadians will be able to legally purchase and consume recreational marijuana — one month later than expected.

Moscow sees the change of policy in Canada as a “serious obstacle” on the way to a drug-free society, Russia Today reported the ministry as saying. 

“We expect, that Canada’s “arbitrariness” will merit a response from its G7 partners since this group has repeatedly declared its commitment to the rule of law in interstate relations,” it added.

This autumn Canada will be the first G7 nation to legalize recreational marijuana, and the second after Uruguay.

 

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Canada signatory to UN drug treaties

So far, Canada is a signatory to three UN drug treaties, pledging to ban drugs including marijuana, which the Russian ministry highlighted.

The three treaties are the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

The UN anti-drug agency had already expressed concern over Canada’s marijuana legalization.

While Canada definitely has to withdraw from these conventions if it doesn’t want to violate the international law, the federal government in Ottawa reiterated that it won’t be violating these conventions.

The federal MP Bill Blair, who is tasked to lead Canada’s marijuana legalization process, told the Puff Puff Post in March, that the Canadian government had “very extensive conversations” with Canada’s international partners and the UN anti-drug agency – the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

blair2 - Russia criticizes Canada for legalizing marijuana, says it violates intl law
Bill Blair speaks to Canadian at a town hall meeting about marijuana legalization in Toronto.

Blair said Canada is exporting marijuana strictly for marijuana and scientific purposes. It “can only be done through licenses from the Ministry of Health,” he said.

However, Canada can always withdraw from these conventions if they become an obstacle to the free will of its people.

 

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An unprecedented World Cup

Russia is the host for 2018’s World Cup.

Despite its tough tone with Canada, the Moscow Times reported in March that Russia will allow football fans to bring their illicit drugs to the upcoming FIFA World Cup.  The daily said football fans must come with supporting medical documents written in the Russian language.

According to the Russian regulations, the drugs: Marijuana, heroin, and cocaine, will be allowed as long as they go through the bureaucratic processes necessary to secure papers.

This World Cup has also been different nevertheless.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has officially removed CBD, the calming and soothing component found in marijuana, from the banned substance list. This made this World Cup the first in which any substance even remotely weed-related is allowed on the field.

Unlike the psychoactive component in marijuana, known as THC, CBD is the key ingredient found in medical cannabis.

 

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