By Phillip Smith
Uruguay is blowing off the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) as it prepares to become the first country to legalize marijuana commerce, and the INCB is "concerned." The South American nation failed to send a delegation to Vienna to listen to the INCB complain about its plans.
"The INCB has noted with concern that the Government of Uruguay was unable to send a delegation to the just concluded INCB session to discuss the status of the country's compliance with the international drug control conventions," the global anti-drug bureaucrats complained.
The INCB is also "very concerned that the draft legislation currently being considered in Uruguay would, if adopted, legalize production, sale and consumption of cannabis for recreational purposes."
"This would be in contravention of the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which has been adopted by 186 countries, including Uruguay," said INCB President Raymond Yans. "Cannabis is controlled due to its dependence-producing potential, and the current development in Uruguay, if pursued, would have serious repercussions for public health, particularly for youth, and would be in violation of the United Nations international drug control treaties."
Uruguay's marijuana legalization bill, backed by President Jose Mujica, has already passed the lower house of parliament and is set for a vote soon in the upper house. Since the governing party has majorities in both houses, passage is seen as extremely likely.
The INCB complained earlier this year when the bill passed the lower house, but that has not deterred Uruguay from moving forward. Neither will this latest volley from Geneva, but the INCB refuses to give up.
"The INCB looks forward to Uruguay resuming its dialogue with the Board at the earliest possible opportunity, prior to further consideration of the draft legislation in the country," Yans said hopefully.