Marijuana meddle: UN official rips US states over legal pot policies
November 13, 2014
A Russian diplomat who heads the United Nations’ drug policy office reportedly chided U.S. states for legalizing recreational marijuana and vowed to take up his concerns with officials in Washington -- in the latest incident of a U.N. official meddling in local U.S. affairs. In response, one American advocacy group suggested the U.N. agency has no authority here, and has outlived its usefulness.
Yury Fedotov, director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, addressed the ballot measures on Wednesday, on the heels of last week’s midterm elections. Last Tuesday, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., voters approved measures allowing marijuana use – following the pot path blazed by Colorado and Washington state. But according to Reuters, Fedotov told reporters that the moves defy international drug “conventions.” "I don't see how [the laws] can be compatible with existing conventions," he reportedly said, claiming he would take it up with State Department and U.N. officials next week. Fedotov was referring to platforms from international drug treaties as far back as 1961.
But Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, told FoxNews.com that while Fedotov technically might be right, those “conventions” have “no teeth.” Further, he criticized the U.N. office for focusing on punitive policies and said, “At this point, we’d be better off without the UNODC.” Nadelmann and allied groups have been buoyed by a string of Obama administration statements making clear that, for now, they will take a lenient approach toward marijuana legalization. Last month, a senior State Department official called for a “flexible interpretation” of U.N. drug policies. “Things have changed since 1961,” Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield said. Given that and other statements from top administration officials, Nadelmann brushed off Fedotov’s comments. “It doesn’t make any difference,” he said. “Fedotov is going through the motions…. but the decision’s already been made.”