Opposition argues Canada should withdraw from UN drug treaties due to pot plans

Canada must withdraw from treaties outlawing marijuana by July 1
Prime Minister Trudeau failed to confirm if his government is working to meet July 1 requirements in order to withdraw from three international treaties that outlaw the legalization of marijuana.

OTTAWA – Opposition parties and international legal experts are calling on Ottawa to explain what it plans to do about three UN drug treaties that pose a conundrum for the Liberal government and its plans to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.

Conservative foreign affairs critic Peter Kent says Canada’s international reputation is at stake, adding the government should withdraw from the agreements rather than violate the letter of the treaties.

READ MORE: Canada must withdraw from treaties outlawing marijuana by July 1

Canada is one of more than 185 parties to three United Nations drug control conventions – 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.

A spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland would not say when the federal government will announce how it plans to address the treaties, adding that Canada is compliant with its international obligations right now.

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READ MORE: Why a 56-year-old UN treaty stands between you and legal pot

Steven Hoffman, director of a global strategy lab at the University of Ottawa, agrees Canada should withdraw from the treaties.

He says Canada would need to signal its decision by next month if it intends to legalize cannabis by July 2018.