UN attacks Canada for pot tolerance

UN attacks Canada for pot toleranceUN attacks Canada for pot tolerance

Several months ago, US drug czar and retired paid killer for the US military, General Barry McCaffrey, lashed out at Cannabis Culture, Marc Emery and pro-pot Internet sites.

Apparently at McCaffrey’s request, legislators then wrote a federal law, the Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act, which seeks to censor and imprison anyone who provides helpful information about manufacturing controlled substances such as marijuana.

In late 1999, US Customs, acting under orders from McCaffrey’s office and the DEA, seized legal Canadian hempseed products. After promising to end seizures of US-bound hemp products, McCaffrey and DEA again created deliberate regulatory confusion that is crippling the Canadian hemp industry. And at the start of the year, US Customs and the DEA used an exaggerated terrorism scare to gain funding and support for militarization of the US-Canadian border.

Now, the United Nations has joined these US agencies in their continuing frontal assault against Canada’s cannabis industry. In February the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), a Vienna based UN agency, issued a report intended to shame the Canadian government into shutting down Canada’s marijuana industry.

Herbert Schaepe, an INCB spokesperson, alleged that the Canadian government has not implemented the “basic provisions” of an important narcotics control treaty that became Canadian law 13 years ago.

Schaepe and the INCB are part of a massive, lavishly funded worldwide conspiracy to rob people of their right to use entheogenic substances. The United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP), along with the World Health Organization and the INCB, monitor individual countries’ compliance with various anti-drug treaties and agreements: the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, amendments to the 1961 Convention added in 1972, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 (ratified by Canada in 1987), and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1998. Spy organizations, along with Interpol and the World Customs Organization, also assist the UN’s anti-drug minions.

Their goal: hunt down and eliminate all people who use or produce “illicit” drugs, and eliminate all psychotropic plants from the planet within ten years.

Public shaming

Schaepe and INCB’s report accuse Canada of being a haven for illicit drug manufacturers and traffickers. Internet sites selling cannabis seeds and equipment for cannabis cultivation are “located primarily on servers in Canada,” says the report, adding that the US State Department asserts (with no evidence, by the way) that 60% of Canadian-grown marijuana is exported to the US.

“These are not seeds for bird feed,” Schaepe wailed. “And they have no medical use; the advertising says they will produce cannabis with high THC content. There is an urgent need to counter the spread of such cultivation.”

Schaepe claimed that seed vendors see Canada as a safe place to do business because of Canada’s allegedly “lax drug enforcement laws.”

“Possession of cannabis is illegal in Canada without a medical dispensation permit from the Health Minister. But jail terms for producers and traffickers are light compared with punishments meted out in the United States,” he complained.

Defending the somewhat unprecedented move of publicly trying to shame a North American democracy (such tactics are usually reserved for Latin American nations like Mexico and Colombia), Schaepe said that the INCB had tried to quietly encourage Canada to get tough on the cannabis industry.

“We have written dozens of confidential letters, asked numerous questions and tried to work with Canada through silent diplomacy,” said Schaepe. “We have been told that the only way to deal with Canada is to go public. That is what we are doing. Canadian sites on the Internet are the world leaders in selling very potent varieties of cannabis. Canada’s cannabis seed industry appears to be even more robust than that of the Netherlands. With Canada, things are not working as they should.

“How can we tell South American countries that they must make a greater effort to control drugs if a rich country like Canada is not even implementing the most basic provisions of its treaty obligations?” added Schaepe. “After 13 years, we now have to report to the international community that Canada is the only developed country with serious deficiencies when it comes to the implementation of these treaties.”

Schaepe said that Andy Scott, then Canada’s solicitor general, promised the UN’s 1998 special session that “Canada will promote an active and balanced approach to international anti-drug co-operation.” Also in 1998, Prime Minister Jean Chretien told the Summit of the Americas: “We want to work in very close collaboration to make sure the production and the consumption of drugs will go down in all parts of the Americas.” Chretien promised that Canada would host a major drug conference, and said he was proud to be heading the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission.

Schaepe complained that Canada has become a haven for manufacture and trans-shipment of all kinds of drugs.

“From Canada there is just a big, black hole,” he said. “We don’t know what is going into the country, nor coming out. We cannot monitor the international movement of these substances, which is our mandate. Normally, Canada has a very good reputation for fulfilling its international obligations, but here it is just breaking the treaty ? a treaty that it ratified a long time ago,” Schaepe said.

Calls for more drug war

Canadian prohibitionists and law enforcement hard-liners, along with their allies in the United States, used the INCB report to openly call for a militarized American-style drug war in Canada.

“Law enforcement cooperation between the two countries is excellent, but we would like to see parliamentarians tighten up some of Canada’s laws,” said a US DEA special agent. “We have a very porous border.”

UN and US reports claim US-bound Canadian cannabis is produced primarily in Western Canada and Quebec, and says cannabis exports to the United States are “burgeoning.” US Customs says the amount of marijuana seized at the British Columbia-Washington border jumped from 10 pounds in 1994 to 2,613 pounds in 1998.

“The federal government is not showing the necessary leadership to help us get rid of drugs,” said RCMP Staff Sergeant Chuck Doucette, chief of RCMP’s British Columbia drug awareness program. “We need a drug czar who will make statements that reflect what we are saying at the street level, currently without any support from above.”

“We know that seed sales are a problem and we are working on a strategy to combat it,” said Corporal Mike Dunbar, a RCMP drug enforcement officer based in Vancouver. “Just saying that a vendor supplied someone with 10 seeds won’t get long sentence in court. We have to show the entire extent of the business. Sentences are no deterrent and this frustrates us and the Americans. It has been brought up at the political level.”

Human rights treaty

Missing from this debate is any mention of the human rights UN treaties which Canada has signed, like the 1948 International Declaration of Human Rights. Signatories pledge themselves to the “observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” The treaty assures all human beings “freedom of thought, conscience and religion,” as well as “freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear.”

The drug war is a steady assault against the principles of this human rights treaty. Clauses enshrining the “right to freedom of opinion and expression,” and “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas,” are ignored in the rush to censor pro-pot info. Clauses ensuring everyone “the right to take part in the government of his country,” are broken by US laws forbidding anyone with a drug conviction the right to vote. Clauses against “arbitrary property seizure” are violated by forfeiture of property without trial.

If the UN were fulfilling its Charter mandate to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, and in the dignity and worth of the human person,” they would applaud Canada for not following the US down the path of unchecked drug war and disregard for basic human rights.

Canada’s official response

Cannabis Culture tried to get Canadian officials to respond to the UN’s criticisms, but found few of them willing to discuss the matter. A spokesperson for Canada’s ambassador to the UN said the ambassador could not comment on the UN report, and referred us to Foreign Affairs.

Michael O’Shaughnessy, a spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs office, said his office also could not comment on the UN’s comments.

“Our only comment is that it’s the responsibility of Health Canada to make a comment,” he said.

But a Health Canada spokesperson said the only comments she was authorized to release came from Dann Michols, director general of Health Canada’s therapeutic products program. In a vaguely worded statement that didn’t even mention marijuana, Michols agreed with INCB criticisms, and offered assurances that Canada would be in full compliance with all anti-drug agreements within two years.