In a move likely to further alienate the already unpopular United Nations from the American people, a top official with the global body put his ignorance about the U.S. constitutional system on full display by calling on the Obama administration to lawlessly quash recent marijuana legalization initiatives in Washington State and Colorado. Voters in both states approved the decriminalization of the controversial plant on November 6, nullifying unconstitutional federal statutes and a dubious UN narcotics agreement at the heart of the global “war on drugs.”
While the international organization obviously has no power to enforce its dictates, UN “International Narcotics Control Board” (INCB) boss Raymond Yans said he hoped disgraced U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder would ignore state laws, the U.S. Constitution, and the will of voters by “challenging” the successful referendums. Similarly, a coalition of former federal “drug warriors,” citing UN agreements, called on Obama to speak out against the legalization measures before they were adopted by the electorate. The administration, meanwhile, has suggested that it would continue to enforce unconstitutional federal statutes in those states despite the nullification measures.
“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,” the UN’s Yans alleged. Despite the half-baked assertions, the 50-year-old UN agreement cited by the global drug boss, known as the “Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs,” does not actually purport to require the criminalization of drug possession, according to experts worldwide.
Even if it did, however, the federal government cannot legitimately expand its own powers beyond constitutional limits simply by signing on to UN agreements or making treaties. The U.S. Constitution, of course, does not give the central government any authority to regulate or control any substances. So, like with alcohol prohibition, granting the U.S. government power over drug policy would require a properly ratified constitutional amendment. Otherwise, narcotics issues, under the Tenth Amendment, are constitutionally in the realm of states or the people.
Still, the well-paid Belgian advocate of global governance and planetary prohibition said he was hopeful that Attorney General Holder “will take all the necessary measures” to continue the unconstitutional policy of prohibition in both states. Holder’s Justice Department, of course, was exposed trafficking heavy weaponry to Mexican drug cartels as part of Operation Fast and Furious while laundering narcotics money through the DEA. What measures the UN drug czar might be advocating was not immediately clear, though analysts suspect Yans was calling on the disgraced federal official to ignore the U.S. Constitution — a very serious matter.
Voters approving legalization of marijuana, Yans claimed in an attempt justify his arguments in an interview with the Associated Press, sends “a wrong message to the rest of the nation and it sends a wrong message abroad.” The UN INCB, though, seemed confident that Obama would obey the outlandish dictates of the self-styled international drug czar.
“Mr. Yans recognized the commitment of the Government of the United States to resolve the contradiction between the federal and state levels in the implementation of that country’s obligations under the drug control conventions,” the dubious outfit said in a press release issued on November 15. “The INCB President requested the Government of the United States to take the necessary measures to ensure full compliance with the international drug control treaties within the entire territory of the United States.”
All across the political spectrum, critics blasted and ridiculed the UN drug boss’ ignorance, not to mention the audacity displayed by an unelected international bureaucrat trying to meddle in the internal affairs of state governments while blatantly disregarding the will of voters. Some commentators even said Yans’ remarks were just one more reason among many to altogether abolish the controversial global organization, known as a “dictators club” among detractors. Other analysts, ironically, perhaps, blasted prohibition partly because of its association with the disgraced global entity, famous for sex scandals and rape among its troops, mass killings of civilians, and support for brutal dictatorships.
The UN INCB, which in its latest press release styles itself “the quasi-judicial body charged with monitoring the implementation of the international drug control conventions by Governments,” also expressed “grave concern” about voters in U.S. states and cities deciding to abandon marijuana prohibition. The same statement went on to claim that the unconstitutional global conventions “must be universally adhered to and implemented by all States.”
According to Yans, that means national laws, policies, and practices related to drugs purportedly regulated by the UN must be “fully aligned” with the global entity’s demands. Incredibly, apparently oblivious to the principles of American federalism, the UN drug czar also claimed that national governments have an “obligation” to “ensure their full compliance” within their entire territory, “including federated states” or provinces. How to deal with sovereign states and voters that refuse to fully comply was not specified, let alone the increasing use of jury nullification to void prohibition.
“Legalization of cannabis within these states would send wrong and confusing signals to youth and society in general, giving the false impression that drug abuse might be considered normal and even, most disturbingly, safe,” Yans complained in a press release, despite the fact virtually all advocates of legalization have explicitly stated that decriminalizing marijuana is not an endorsement of the plant itself. “Such a development could result in the expansion of drug abuse, especially among young people, and we must remember that all young people have a right to be protected from drug abuse and drug dependency.”
Of course, left unmentioned was the fact that studies in countries such as Portugal that have decriminalized all drugs show conclusively that drug abuse actually plummeted after legalization. Also conveniently ignored by the UN drug czar, whose bloated tax-funded salary depends on prohibition, are the rates of marijuana use among the youth in the Netherlands, where cannabis is essentially legal, compared to the United States. According to a 2009 U.S. National Institutes of Health study that examined the issue, for example, “marijuana use rates did not differ across countries;” findings that clearly contradict the drug czar’s claims.
Yans also admitted that despite the global prohibition regime, since it was adopted in the early 1960s, very strong forms of marijuana have appeared on the market. Drug abuse, meanwhile, has been on the rise globally as well, with the notable exception of countries such as Portugal where drugs have been decriminalized.
However, across the political spectrum, from conservative Christians like Pat Robertson, Sarah Palin, and Ron Paul to big government-promoting secularists like Rep. Barney Frank, opposition to marijuana prohibition continues to mount. Polls show most Americans now favor decriminalizing cannabis, too. And as constitutional scholars have long pointed out, Washington, D.C., has absolutely no authority to intervene in state drug policy — much less the UN, alternatively seen as a laughing stock or an illegitimate threat to freedom and national sovereignty.
Incredibly, despite publicly admitting that he has consumed marijuana and other illegal substances, President Obama has been even more vicious in his prosecution of the unconstitutional drug war than the George W. Bush administration. In addition to lawlessly persecuting the medical marijuana industry in the more than 16 states that have nullified bogus federal statutes, the current administration has been widely condemned for bullying some Latin American governments now openly advocating drug legalization into continuing prohibition.
Top political leaders across the hemisphere have started openly complaining about the monetary costs and the death toll associated with the drug war, as well as the massive profits prohibited substances yield for ruthless criminal cartels. Obama, however, dispatched high-ranking officials to send a clear message to Latin American political leaders: Keep waging the war as instructed, or face the consequences.
“The drug war justifies all kinds of aggressive US foreign policies in the region, supporting repressive governments and para-militaries, while allowing the prohibitionist policies to deepen the black market in drugs and embolden violent drug gangs,” explained John Glaser with antiwar.com in a piece about the UN drug chief’s comments. Well over $1 trillion American taxpayer dollars have been consumed by the drug war, not to mention hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide, possibly more.
Of course, this is not the first time that self-styled international “authorities” have attempted to meddle in the internal affairs of American states. UN “Human Rights” boss Navi Pillay, for example, criticized Florida laws protecting the human right to self-defense while blasting the alleged lack of an investigation into the shooting of Trayvon Martin earlier this year. Federal, state, and local investigations were already ongoing, but the misnamed UN “Human Rights” body, which includes some of the most barbaric dictatorships on earth as members, was apparently not very well informed. UN-linked “election monitors” purporting to have the authority to “observe” U.S. elections sparked a national scandal this year, too, with some states threatening to arrest them.
While it may be constitutionally legitimate for state governments to regulate or prohibit drugs — and there are, of course, very real concerns about problems associated with narcotics — the Obama administration has no lawful authority to intervene. Voters in Colorado and Washington, then, are perfectly justified in nullifying lawless federal statutes that go outside of constitutional limits. The UN’s effort to get involved, however, has been widely perceived as crossing a line in the sand, leading to renewed calls for the U.S. to defund and withdraw from the global body immediately.
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at
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