The United States must not turn a blind eye to the
recreational use of cannabis in states that liberalise drug laws, an
international monitoring group said, urging the country to live up to its
Voters in the states of Colorado and Washington approved
measures in November that allow personal possession of cannabis for people 21
and older, who will be able to buy the drug at special stores under rules to be
finalised this year.
No other states have legalised pot, the country's most
widely used illicit drug, for recreational use. But proponents are pushing for
ballots in states such as California and Oregon, which were among the first to
allow cannabis for medical use.
Raymond Yans, president of the International Narcotics
Control Board (INCB), said assurances from the US government in December that
growing, selling or possessing the drug remained illegal under federal law were
"good, but insufficient".
cannabis for recreational purposes
Letting people smoke cannabis for recreational purposes
violates the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, to which the
United States is a party, he told the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs on
Wednesday, according to a statement.
The INCB monitors implementation of international drug
control conventions, and Yans cited the United States' legal obligation to
ensure the treaties were upheld across the country. The Commission is the
central UN policymaking body for drug-related matters.
Supporters of the US legalisation campaign have argued the
"war on drugs" launched in 1971 has failed to stem cannabis use, and
instead saddled otherwise law-abiding pot smokers with criminal records that
could help keep them out of work.
US President Barack Obama said in a television interview in
December that it did not make sense for the federal government to "focus
on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that, under state
law, that's legal".