Colorado and Washington have recently passed legislation legalizing the use of limited amounts of marijuana for those over 21 years of age. Raymond Yans, President of the United Nation’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) voiced “grave concern about the outcome of recent referenda in the United States of America that would allow the non-medical use of cannabis by adults in the states of Colorado and Washington,” according to the United Nations Information Service. Yans said that “these developments are in violation of the international drug control treaties, and pose a great threat to public health and the well-being of society far beyond those states.”
Yans later told the Associated Press of Vienna on that he hopes Attorney General Eric Holder “will take all the necessary measures” to ensure that marijuana possession will remain illegal throughout the United States. Indeed, Colorado and Washington are still awaiting a proposed lawsuit from the United States federal government, according to Kristen Wyatt of the Associated Press. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has said that Colorado will respect the wishes of the voters of Colorado, but will wait to see what the federal government will say about this. For now, both states are holding off on plans to regulate and tax the drug until the Justice Department decides whether or not to assert federal authority over drug law.
The INCB has no authority or ability to force the United States government to overturn the legislation in Colorado and Washington, but their concern remains.