Marijuana

Canada Needs Permission From International Treaties to Legalize Marijuana, Says New PM Justin Trudeau

What do you think this is, America?

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Jean Marc Carisse/via Wikipedia

Justin Trudeau, the Liberal prime minister who won last October's elections in Canada against the Conservative Stephen Harper, who was seeking a third term, ran in part on a promise to legalize marijuana, and said he was going to "get started on that right away," signaling a departure from the Harper administration's anti-pot stance.

Now, Trudeau's said his efforts have hit a snag—international treaties. They were, uh, there during the election campaign, even if they were left unmentioned by the candidate himself.

The Canadian Press reports:

The Liberal government will have to do substantial work on the international stage before it can follow through on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's promise to legalize marijuana, new documents suggest.

That work will have to include figuring out how Canada would comply with three international treaties to which the country is a party, all of which criminalize the possession and production of marijuana.

Trudeau's plan to legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana is already proving a complicated and controversial undertaking on the domestic front, in part because it requires working with the provinces.

Internationally, says a briefing note prepared for the prime minister, Canada will also have to find a way to essentially tell the world how it plans to conform to its treaty obligations.

The treaties—the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and (because, hey, what's in a name, two more), the Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances—date back to the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Canada made a reservation to the second treaty, about permitting the use of peyote for magical or religious rites by "small, clearly determined groups," mimicking a U.S. one.

A similar argument came up in the United States a couple of years ago, when some critics of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington insisted these international treaties required the federal government to prevent legalization, a spurious argument Jacob Sullum demolished:

Under our federalist system… states have no obligation to punish every activity that Congress chooses to treat as a crime. The Supreme Court has said, based on a dubious reading of the power to regulate interstate commerce, that the federal government may continue to enforce its own ban on marijuana in states that take a different approach. But that does not mean the feds can compel states to help, let alone force them to enact their own bans…

Even if treaties could override federalism, the agreements [critics cite] do not purport to do so. The 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs says compliance is subject to "constitutional limitations" and undertaken with "due regard to [signatories'] constitutional, legal and administrative systems."  The 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances contain similar provisions.

The federalist approach taken in the United States by advocates of marijuana legalization, which has brought or is bringing recreational marijuana into the legal market in four states plus Washington, D.C., and allowed a plethora of local jurisdictions to do the same, as well as for states to try more restrictive than legal, but no longer totally prohibitionist, approaches, like legalizing medical marijuana or small amounts of the non-medical stuff.

In Canada, as The Press mentioned, Trudeau is facing difficulty with the provinces. A former Liberal prime minister, Jean Chretien, flirted with a bill to decriminalize marijuana in 2003. It was concern from the United States, not concern about international treaty obligations, that helped kill that effort. And while marijuana legalization was thought to be driving young people to the polls, unlike in the U.S., the provinces themselves haven't made much of an effort to legalize marijuana.

They have a different constitutional structure in Canada. Maybe Trudeau can ask permission from the Queen? He can tell her because it's 2015 2016, that's why.

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  1. Double post or just my phone? Either way SQUIRRELSZSZ!!!

    1. Two posts enter, one post leaves!

      1. They’ll delete the one with the most comments rabble

          1. So you’re saying I picked the post that survived by being first, Ed…up yours Fist!

            1. No, as both posts (likely) had the same title, they had the same url. That means both comments links went to the same post.

              1. *stares blankly*

                All I know is, I am … THE DECIDER!

              2. One post was copied and uploaded into the ARK, and launched into space. The other dwells here on Pathos II..

    2. They’re no longer content with occasionally duplicating comments, they’ve graduated to entire posts.

      1. Dammit, I even tried to double click the submit button to see if I could get the SKWIRRLZ to double post that (to be ironic) and it didn’t work. I guess they answer to no master.

        1. The squirrelz answer to only The Jacket. Apparently The Jacket doesn’t like your shenanigans.

          1. The Jacket never lets me have any fun.

            *hangs head, kicks stone*

  2. He can her because it’s 2015 2016, that’s why.

    Can her? He hardly knew her!

    1. It’s embarrassing when you make a mistake during your correction. That’s why I don’t break balls on spelling or grammar, karma is swift and terrible.

      1. And yet you’re more likely to make a mistake when you’re already flustered because you just made a mistake. Don’t you love physiology?

        1. Mother Nature is an abusive mother.

          1. Someone should call CPS. Maybe we can get a judge to emancipate us.

          2. Where’s Lenore when you need her?

            1. Free Range FUBAR

          3. Yes, she are!

  3. First he wears that Atlas Shrugged shirt, and now this!

  4. Uruguay did it and dared the world to complain. That’s because the President of Uruguay, while a socialist, is a man who means what he says and has principles.

    Trudeau is a cunt who rode the coattails of his daddy’s career into office.

    Therein lies the difference.

    1. Ouch. Get that man some burn cream!

    2. But Uruguay is a sovereign nation. Canada is just the world’s bitch.

  5. Now, Trudeau’s said his efforts have hit a snag?international treaties. They were, uh, there during the election campaign, even if they were left unmentioned by the candidate himself.

    You know what other strictures existed in Canada that were there during the campaign but went unmentioned by the candidate himself?

    1. The notwithstanding clause?

    2. Hitler? It’s Hitler, right?

    3. Burning tyres?

    4. Canadian Tire money?

    5. Trudeau’s throne of skulls?

    6. No, no, I think there’s something to the Hitler crowd popularity.

  6. Drug-using president JFK never gets the credit he deserves for signing the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

    1. Yeah, what a dick.

    2. His executive order also legalized federal government employee unions. Why Reagan did not undo that is a mystery to me.

      1. Umm… he used to be a union president, maybe?

  7. A similar argument came up in the United States a couple of years ago, when some critics of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington insisted these international treaties required the federal government to prevent legalization…

    Please tell me the crowd making that argument was the same one previously screaming to get us out of the UN and keep control of DNS in-country.

    Anyway, the thing Trudeau really fears is the wall Canuckistani legalization would force President Trump to erect and force puck-slappers to pay for.

    1. The wall around Washington and Colorado?

      1. Anything to keep the Portlandites out.
        Downside: we keep the Seattlites in.

        1. Didn’t Oregon legalize too? Sorry, but they’ll probably wall off Washington and Oregon together.

          1. Sorta-kinda. LIst of counties and cities where Rec Marijuana facilities are prohibited:

            http://www.oregon.gov/olcc/mar…..OptOut.pdf

            I mean, I’m not trying to be a dick, but Cheeesus.

            1. Well, the Donald will still wall it all off. If certain parts of Oregon want to wall themselves off further to protect from the demon weed, that’s an internal state matter.

  8. Trudeau’s plan to legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana

    Those three words wouldn’t exist in the same sentence without causing a major rupture in the space-time continuum, if we lived in a sane world.

    1. Thank you.

      “Regulate” really means “to make regular” so “regulate and restrict” is really a contradiction in terms; only in our current newspeak do they mean essentially the same thing.

      1. Yeah that “make regular” is kind of an anachronism– a deprecated term. By modern governmental definition, regulate means to restrict.

        1. The modern technical definition also usually means to restrict.

      2. Er. Words often have multiple meanings and change meaning over time. Regulate now normally means the restrictive thing.

        It’s also not a contradiction to suggest that you could make something regular by restricting it. Clocks, for example, are regulated in such a way to restrict the ways the parts can move.

        1. My favorite old-timey definition of ‘regulate’ is the commerce clause, where the purpose of the clause was to “make regular” commerce between the several states. The idea being that states would have an incentive to block or restrict trade from other states that had competing products/industry. The idea was ‘making commerce regular’ would keep it flowing.

        2. The raw materials were in the earth, minding their own business until regulators came along and forced them into our timekeeping slavery.

  9. Now, Trudeau’s said his efforts have hit a snag?international treaties

    Do you think Canada will learn a lesson about signing international treaties that include sections of pure domestic policy? Or not? I’m betting not.

    1. They’re being a good citizen of the world.

      1. Is the international stance on drugs anything but a direct extension of US domestic policy? Honest question. I’ve always assumed that the US was just pumping so much money and influence into the War on Drugs that everyone else has just been coerced/paid to go along with it.

        1. Honest question. I’ve always assumed that the US was just pumping so much money and influence into the War on Drugs that everyone else has just been coerced/paid to go along with it.

          The cynical person would agree with this. I like to think that the money is used wisely by foreign governments who have been convinced peacefully and honorably of the dangers of marijuana and other substances which no right-thinking politician would ever fully legalize. Tax, regulate and restrict… maybe… but legalize? Never.

        2. Pretty sure the commies don’t like drugs, neither. So, the U.S. and the former Soviets. And China now probably also has a big say-so. So, the U.S. and a bunch of authoritarian hellholes. America! Fuck yeah!

          1. Good point, I forgot about them. At least we can all agree that alcohol is okay. ::stares in the general direction of Mecca::

            1. Nope. The current news from CDC is that red wine has no health benefits and there is no acceptable level of consumption that is safe.

              1. What’s their stance on dog-fucking? Still for it?

              2. This is :
                A. Irrelevant to me as the CDC is a bunch of morons.
                B. Stupidest shit i ever heard.
                and
                C. Disproved by the anecdotal evidence of me not killing every fucking thing that moves within 100 yards of me on most days.

                1. Don’t worry. We tried prohibition once and it didn’t work. I can’t imagine that they would try to do it again.

                  1. But the “once” you’re thinking about was already “again”. There’d been a wave of a lot of state liquor prohib’ns in the 19th C.

          2. It’s almost like the desire to impose puritanical morality on your inferiors is some sort of universal or something.

            1. Statists gonna state, eh?

            2. It must have served our ancestors very well when it comes to natural selection.

              1. Or maybe it’s a social pathology, a defect that occurs when upjumped monkey brains are forced to interact with more people than they physically have the neuronal capacity to handle knowing.

            3. I think you a word.

          3. China is kind of a special case. I can’t really give them much grief over their attitude towards drugs, especially regarding the west.

    2. If America hasn’t learned it, i doubt Canada will.

      1. Bullshit. John Kerry himself says we don’t “do” treaties any more.

        1. That’s just because the GOP Congress would never ratify anything that the Obama administration was willing to sign. Gridlock is good.

    3. They weren’t gonna sign it, but then they thought that not signing might be construed as rude, so there you go.

  10. Not to beat a dead horse, but to beat a dead horse, I propose we tax, regulate and restrict abortion. Who’s with me?

    1. Don’t we already do that?

      1. We subsidize it. Kinda the opposite of taxing it.

        1. It’s just a negative tax.

    2. Why are you aborting horses, Paul?

    3. We’ll have to get the CDC’s take on that one…

    4. I’m in favor of making abortion regular.

  11. https://www.unodc.org/ungass2016/en/about.html
    The UN is hosting a special session on drugs in April. How are Trudeau’s government minions preparing for that?!

    1. How do I get an invite? What drugs will they have?

      1. Not so much drugs as a bunch of Porsches and expensive houses confiscated by authorities because of suspected links to drug activity.

        And diamond necklaces.

    2. Trudeau’s getting a good haircut.

  12. What, exactly, would the world community do if Canada violated its obligations? Sanction Canada? Canada?! Come on.

    1. Canada would be the easiest country to sanction.

      “Oh, sorry, eh.”

      1. Pronounced “sore-y.”

        1. And the sanctions would never be lifted, even after everyone else forgot why they were there, because Canada would never actually ask to have them lifted.

      2. You say that, and then they’ll start with the ads of starving polar bears. Do you hate the polar bears? WELL, DO YOU?

        Speaking of global warming, they could always threaten to melt the polar ice cap. Send up a team of mounties with space heaters.

        1. When did Canada get a space program? And exactly how many of these heaters have they launched into orbit so far?

          1. I hadn’t even considered that they might launch them into orbit! So far, we’re safe, but just push the Canucks a little too far and the Virgin Islands become the Virgin Reef!

  13. Aaaaaand Trudeau is a pussy.

    Big surprise there.

    1. But still dreamy, amirite?

      1. As a straight man, I can agree with that. If I looked like him, I’ll bet even I could get laid.

  14. Sounds to me like he never had any intention of pushing though something and just wants to claim “someone else tied his hands”

    that said, isn’t BC “legal”?

    1. that said, isn’t BC “legal”?

      Not that I know of.

      1. Yeah, i’m probably confused. I think there was a minor boomlet in weed-tourism to vancouver, because there was a super-lax, zero-enforcement policy in effect in the early 2000s… but i think it never went any further. Wiki notes =

        ” Though the drug is illegal in Canada (with exceptions for medical uses), its recreational use is often tolerated and is more commonplace in the province of BC as compared to most of the rest of the country.[1][2] The province’s inexpensive hydroelectric power and abundance of water and sunshine?in addition to the many hills and forests (which aid stealth outdoor growing)?make it an ideal cannabis growing area.[3] The British Columbia cannabis industry is worth an estimated $6 billion annually,[4] and produces 40% of all Canadian cannabis,[5] making cannabis among the most valuable cash crops in the province”

        I also think Vancouver had a few ‘cafes’ where people could openly smoke, but it seems like a number of them were subsequently closed.

    2. Unless you mean this: Though the drug is illegal in Canada (with exceptions for medical uses), its recreational use is often tolerated and is more commonplace in the province of BC as compared to most of the rest of the country.

      Which by definition means it’s not regulated and restricted. Trudeau promised to change that.

      1. Washington DC model, only with a five dollar fine.

    3. he never had any intention of pushing though something and just wants to claim “someone else tied his hands”

      Ah, the Obama Gitmo Gambit

  15. Who thinks there was more going on than teenage B.O.? Like, this.

    1. If only we didn’t have so much deodorant available (and in so many varieties) this kid would still be alive. #FeelTheBern

    2. WITNESS ME!!! WITNESS ME!!

    3. I don’t think he could’ve inhaled enough to do that unless he was deliberately excluding air. The family wants to make it about the lesser bad habit of not washing rather than the more embarrassing behavior of huffing.

  16. Canada, like every country, needs to first honor private property rights before respecting treaties (not that those two things are can’t overlap).

  17. Canada Needs Permission From International Treaties to Legalize Marijuana, Says New PM Justin Trudeau

    “A planet where a politician makes up some phony-baloney excuse to not keep a campaign promise?”

    That work will have to include figuring out how Canada would comply with three international treaties to which the country is a party, all of which criminalize the possession and production of marijuana.

    You can perfectly renege from a treaty that adversely affects the freedom of the citizens of the country. What are the other governments going to do, besides throwing a fit? They can’t do anything. Such treaties are unenforceable and illegitimate, for starters.

    1. It only gives the impression that he’s a coward grasping for excuses, much like Obama pointing his finger at Congress to reschedule pot.

      1. It only gives the impression that he’s a coward grasping for excuses…

        DING! DING! DING!

        We have a wiener!

    2. Yabbut, one of the defining values of Trudeaupians is the worship of multilateral international bodies and agreements, such as the UN. The Conservatives’ disdain for the UN was one of their big election talking points.

  18. Gee, it’s almost as if he never intended to do it in the first place and always knew he’d fall back on treaties as an excuse.

    Nah, can’t be. We all know that progressives like Trudeau are on the side of individual liberty, at least on social issues. It’s only those mean, nasty rightwingers who’re a problem.

  19. What’s that word… sovereignty? Rhymes with shmovreignty. That thing your government ostensibly exercises on behalf of the ostensibly free people? Oh right, they ceded that shit away to internationalist bureaucrats and foreign despots long ago. What a fucking joke.

  20. Canada Needs Permission

    Buck up, Canuckistan. Doncha know, that’s the very definition of liberty–asking for permission and following orders!

  21. The anti-pot people are blowing smoke up everyone’s asses.

    Look at Article 46 of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, Article 29 of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances and…

  22. Article 30 of the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic,

    and you’ll see that each treaty can be “denounced” – a country can un-ratify it – and a denunciation made today would take effect in January of next year.

    1. And this isn’t just theoretical, either. Bolivia wanted to legalize the chewing of coca leaves based on tribal tradition, which was banned by the relevant treaty, so the Bolivians simply denounced the relevant treaty and *re-ratified* it with a coca leaf reservation.

      If the Bolivians can figure it out, why not the U.S. and the Canadians?

      I’m not saying the U.S. and Canada should re-ratify with a dope reservation, only that they *can,* so the thing about being bound by treaty obligations is like locking yourself in a cage to which you have the key – you can get out whenever you like, but you’ll be able to trick stupid people into thinking you’re helplessly locked in.

      1. And just to be clear, once you’ve denounced the treaty you’re under no obligation to re-ratify, that’s just what Bolivia did.

  23. That work will have to include figuring out how Canada would comply with three international treaties to which the country is a party, all of which criminalize the possession and production of marijuana.

    Repudiate them, as UGCC says above.

    These aren’t peace treaties imposed by a powerful enemy – any nation can just say “screw this” and stop obeying it – in this case with basically no chance of repercussions.

  24. Basically, he doesn’t want to upset the “ethnic voters” because those us* not born in Canada cannot be trusted not to lose their minds over it and vote Conservative again.

    As I said before, I hope this means he will ignore all his promises and spend the rest of his term posturing and preening while country runs on auto-pilot. That would easily make him the best PM since WW2 at least.

    *are Slavs “ethnics” or not these days, NSDAP Office of Racial Policy getting shut down in ’45 and everything?

    1. If you’re my mother, Slavs are absolutely Ethnics, as are Ukranians and Yugoslavs.

  25. Oh surprise,surprise. Another promise “goes up in smoke”. Our boy Justin is clearly floating a trial ballon to set the scene for reneging on yet another election promise. While I am familiar with the Habitual Liberal on big lie tactics
    during election campaigns, Justin is leaving me breathless with the rapidity of backing down on so many of his solemn promises. This guy has serious problems with morality and honesty but boy oh boy did he look glamorous in his Vogue magazine spread.

  26. Justin is such a pussy. International treaties, what a joke.

  27. In the US, the federal government signs treaties but the states have their own criminal codes, so a state can legalize marijuana all it wants without worrying about international treaties.

    In Canada, the criminal code is exclusively a federal responsibility. Provinces cannot legalize marijuana on their own, and the criminal code is subject to treaty obligations in a way that US state codes are not.

  28. Feh. Pussy.

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