Uruguay Weed Legalization Is Illegal According To International Law, Says UN Agency
On Tuesday, stoners the world over rejoiced that Uruguay had decided to legalize marijuana — but celebrations may be short-lived. A United Nations drug-watchdog group has declared that the small South American nation is violating international law with its new legislation. The fun-sounding International Narcotics Control Board monitors nations' compliance with various international drug treaties, and, according to the agency, Uruguay's intention to legalize of the sale, production, and consumption of weed violates those agreements.
The INCB's president, Raymond Yans, said it was surprising that Uruguay "knowingly decided to break the universally agreed and internationally endorsed treaty." The watchdog claims that legalization will introduce more young people to the drug, and the planned legislation would "contribute to the earlier onset of addiction."
Yans also attests that the decision "fails to consider its negative impacts on health since scientific studies confirm that cannabis is an addictive substance with serious consequences for people's health." Well, not always: weed can actually help the health of some long-suffering patients.
The agency added that marijuana smoke is actually more carcinogenic than that which comes from cigarettes. Even though WebMD tells an entirely different story, and we're inclined to trust the site without an agenda.
Both tobacco and cannabis smoke contain the same cancer-causing compounds (carcinogens). Depending on what part of the plant is smoked, marijuana can contain more of these harmful ingredients. But a recent review of studies on the effects of marijuana and tobacco smoke suggests that the cancer-promoting effects of these ingredients is increased by the tobacco in nicotine and reduced by the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in cannabis.
Still, it's unlikely the INCB will sway Uruguay, many of whose citizens are celebrating their newfound freedom to smoke a joint. The on-the-ground reporting from the BBC was priceless:
This was a huge victory for the cannabis-smoking community in Uruguay.Hundreds of young people gathered outside Congress in Montevideo to follow the vote on a giant screen. Many shared a joint of marijuana with their friends. They partied amid reggae music and some waved marijuana leaves.
Oh, you guys.