Legalizing Cannabis Violates the UN Drug Control Treaties, But Progressive Countries Like Canada Have Options

37 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2018

See all articles by Roojin Habibi

Roojin Habibi

University of Ottawa

Steven Hoffman

York University; Harvard University

Date Written: February 1, 2018

Abstract

There is growing concern that the international drug control regime’s outdated and restrictive drug control measures do not meet current human rights standards and public health needs. Provisions in three historically prohibitionist United Nations treaties – 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 – substantially limit Party latitude in legalizing and regulating schedule-listed substances, including cannabis. Against this backdrop, following through on a promise made during the 2015 national election, the Canadian government introduced Bill C-45 in April 2017 to legalize cannabis for non-medical uses by Summer 2018. This article analyzes and explains how legalizing cannabis violates the three United Nations drug control treaties. Anchored in the premise of respect for the rule of international law, the article identifies several ways forward for reconciling domestic cannabis legalization plans with international legal obligations under the United Nations drug control regime.

Suggested Citation

Habibi, Roojin and Hoffman, Steven, Legalizing Cannabis Violates the UN Drug Control Treaties, But Progressive Countries Like Canada Have Options (February 1, 2018). Ottawa Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3136881

Roojin Habibi (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa ( email )

2292 Edwin Crescent
Ottawa, Ontario K2C 1H7
Canada

Steven Hoffman

York University ( email )

Global Strategy Lab
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada
+1-416-736-2100 ext 33364 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.globalstrategylab.org/people/steven-hoffman

Harvard University ( email )

Department of Global Health & Population
665 Huntington Avenue, Building 1, Room 1104
Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/steven-hoffman/

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