Canada is getting some fire for the “Liberal Government’s Cannabis Act”, which is expected to take effect on Oct. 17, 2018.
A 21 June, 2018, UN Information Service) release indicated, among other things, that “The Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board’s (INCB) “deep concern about the legalization of cannabis for non-medical use in Canada”.
The country’s decision to adopt a on-medical cannabis use policy has, so far, not resulted in any major economic or political ramifications. However, there is obvious signs of apprehension among critics and the battle over the issue is getting more intense.
A September 28, 2018 release from CTV News, Air Canada says it has “changed its drug and alcohol policy to ban the recreational use of cannabis products for “safety-critical employees,” whether on or off duty. “The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority,” an Air Canada spokesperson told CTV News in an emailed statement.”
The reaction by Air Canada to the decision taken by the Canadian Parliament regarding non-medical cannabis use is being watched closely by cannabis industry analysts, and other countries who support recreational use of the herb.
There is further evidence that every route to non medical cannabis attracts scrutiny, even though some may be unscientific and others unjustified. According to “an official statement published by the Russian ministry of foreign affairs on Thursday, [Oct. 4th, 2018] a senior Russian diplomat argued the Liberal government’s Cannabis Act, which comes into force on Oct. 17, contravenes Canada’s international treaty obligations”.
Some would argue that the statement, issued by Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna is premised on unscientific conclusions. The warning however cannot be ignored.
Ambassador Ulyanov says; “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,”
Meanwhile, as policy makers in St Vincent and the Grenadines make steady progress with the highly anticipated establishment of a medical cannabis industry, some nationals say the country should liberalize the cannabis industry altogether and make way for recreational cannabis, along with medical and religious uses.
The involvement of small, vulnerable economies, such as SVG, in a medical cannabis industry is a giant step forward. The extent to which several of those steps are taken and the time lapse between each step would be subjected to even more harsher scrutiny when compared to countries such as Canada.
Industry analysts and enthusiasts in SVG are likely to scrutinize Canada’s case for non-medical use in the upcoming months. In the interim, the small island state of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has secured a front row seat to view the global recreational cannabis wrestling match. It is a bout being fought among some of the global heavy weights.
The June 21, news release from the INCB also says; “Through their ratification of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, State Parties have undertaken to limit exclusively to medical and scientific purposes the production, manufacture, export, import, distribution of, trade in, use and possession of drugs.
In its ongoing dialogue with the Government of Canada and in its public pronouncements on the issue, the Board has reiterated that the legalization and regulation of cannabis by Canada for non-medical purposes cannot be reconciled with the country’s international obligations as a State Party to the drug control conventions.
The UN drug control conventions are the result of a broad-based international consensus evidenced by the fact that they benefit from near universal ratification by States.
As recently as 2016, the international community, including Canada, reaffirmed the centrality of the three international drug control conventions as “the cornerstone of the international drug control system” in the outcome document of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS).
The Board cautions that the legalization of the use of cannabis for non-medical purposes, which is in violation of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, also undermines the international legal drug control framework and respect for the rules-based international order.
Speaking on behalf of the Board, President Viroj Sumyai said: “This decision contravenes the Conventions and their overarching objectives of safeguarding the health and welfare of people. INCB is very concerned about the public health situation in Canada which will result from the Government’s decision to legalize the non-medical use of cannabis.
We also call upon the Government of Canada to consider the repercussions of its policy on other Member States, in accordance with its long-standing commitment to the principle of common and shared responsibility.”
“The Board will continue to monitor developments and remain engaged with the Government of Canada on this serious issue,”?the release says.
The International Narcotics Control Board is also the same organisation that is responsible for assessing the medical cannabis Industry being established by St. Vincent and the Grenadines, to ensure that SVG adheres to the international regulations governing medical cannabis.
The Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is an independent body, established by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, mandated to monitor and support governments’ compliance with the three international drug control treaties. Its 13 members are elected by the Economic and Social Council to serve in their individual capacities for a term of five years.