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When I was a dork in high school, supporting Reagan and Bill Buckley, and sneaking peeks at National Review and later, Human Events, I used to advise my pro-drug detractors that a treaty prohibited the legalization of pot.

Turned out the dork was right!

But now we can beat a bad UN (Yes, my readers, that’s redundant!) treaty:  The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs!  And we only need a statute to do it!

The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is a well-meaning treaty promulgated in the 1960s to try to stem the international drug trade.  Now that the success of that effort is self-evident to all observers, it occurred to me:  Here’s where Left and Right can band together for a rare victory for sovereignty!

Here’s what we get from the agency set up to enforce (read meddle) the Convention:  Orders and disrespectful tones to a sovereign nation.

Launching its annual report in London, Raymond Yans, the INCB president, said that the successful ballots in Colorado and Washington to legalise the use of cannabis for recreational purposes and the fact that Massachusetts had recently become the 18th state to allow the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes violate the international drug conventions.


The INCB has warned the US government that medical cannabis must be properly regulated. “In some US states they are being operated in a way that is completely inappropriate and outside of the conventions,” the report says.

What is completely inappropriate is an attitude from a UN official ordering the United States to do something.  I am not at all sure where I land on drug legalization or decriminalization.  I think if there is a legitimate use for medical marijuana, than it should be legal with a prescription.  I also have concerns about the repeated and seemingly ineffective “war on drugs” and the federal government ought to be out of the drug system, other than international smuggling or general racketeering.  But kids must be protected from drugs.  That cannot change.

Here’s a view from a pro-decriminalization organization (The Marijuana Policy Project) on this treaty issue.

  “The last thing the INCB should be doing is meddling in our states’ affairs,” stated Aaron Houston, MPP director of government relations. “We are a federalist society and our states are granted the right to decide their own policy—not the federal government, and certainly not the United Nations. Who is the U.N. to tell Texas, Mississippi, Ohio or any other state what to do?”

Of course, I do not have to say what Ron Paul felt about the drug war:  The hero of liberty said again and again to get rid of it.  As I said, I am not giving a blanket endorsement.  What I want is to beat the globalists and the UN.  This is how:

The Supreme Court held in Breard v. Greene that Congress can renounce a treaty by a statute.

Second, although treaties are recognized by our Constitution as the supreme law of the land, that status is no less true of provisions of the Constitution itself, to which rules of procedural default apply. We have held “that an Act of Congress . . . is on a full parity with a treaty, and that when a statute which is subsequent in time is inconsistent with a treaty, the statute to the extent of conflict renders the treaty null.” Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S. 1, 18, 1 L. Ed. 2d 1148, 77 S. Ct. 1222 (1957) (plurality opinion); see also Whitney v. Robertson, 124 U.S. 190, 194, 31 L. Ed. 386, 8 S. Ct. 456 (1888) (holding that if a treaty and a federal statute conflict, “the one last in date will control the other”).

So what are we waiting for?  Let’s pass a statute like this:

“If any of the Several States elect to legalize or decriminalize or tax narcotic drugs that those laws are authorized by United States law, no treaty or executive agreement to the contrary.”

Maybe polish up the language but it is time to win a victory for sovereignty.  No more foreigners lecturing to us based on treaties.  Left and Right can get together!

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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