UN Outraged After More U.S. States Nullify Global Pot Regime
The New American
by Alex Newman
After two more states and the District of Columbia nullified the marijuana prohibition regimes of the United Nations and the federal government, the UN blasted the move as not being “compatible” with what the dictator-dominated organization likes to describe as “international law.” The UN’s drug czars said the same thing after Colorado and Washington State nullified federal statutes and UN agreements in 2012, when voters in those states became the first in America to end the decades-old ban on the controversial substance. The UN even called on Obama to quash the measures in defiance of the U.S. Constitution and the will of voters.
However, for now at least, the widely ridiculed UN still has no power to enforce its demands even if they were legitimate. Beyond that, legal analysts and UN critics said the real issue is not marijuana or even prohibition. Instead, it is the ongoing and increasingly aggressive attacks on the U.S. Constitution and the accelerating inference in the domestic affairs of the United States by an international body dominated by autocracies. Regardless of one’s views on marijuana, then, the UN has exactly zero business meddling in the decisions and governance of the American people.
The fact that the UN is already deeply unpopular in the United States and has no authority here, though, does not mean its legions of overpaid bureaucrats plan to allow states to brazenly defy global prohibition without speaking out. “I don’t see how [ending marijuana prohibition] can be compatible with existing [UN drug] conventions,” complained former Soviet diplomat Yury Fedotov, who currently serves as executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). “[O]f course, such laws fall out of line with the demands of these conventions.”
Fedotov said the UN “Commission on Narcotic Drugs,” another globalist bureaucracy, shared his views. Speaking to reporters, the UN drug czar and former operative for the brutal communist regime ruling the Soviet Union said it appeared to be part of a growing trend that the UN was monitoring. Asked whether there was anything the agency he runs could do about it, however, Reuters reported that Fedotov promised merely to “raise the problem” with Obama’s State Department and other UN outfits next week.
As The New American reported last month, the rabidly pro-UN Obama administration’s State Department has already been begging the UN for a “flexible interpretation” of its controversial drug regime. “Things have changed since 1961,” said William Brownfield, the assistant secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. “We must have enough flexibility to allow us to incorporate those changes into our policies.” Some analysts say the U.S. government will likely be forced to withdraw from the UN drug regime, which considers the Islamic dictatorship in Iran to be a stellar example of enforcing prohibition.
Attorney General Eric Holder, meanwhile, acknowledged in congressional testimony this year that the federal government does not necessarily have the power to coerce states into criminalizing substances or anything else. The admission was celebrated as obvious by proponents of the Constitution, states’ rights, and state-level nullification of unconstitutional statutes — even among many who believe marijuana prohibition should continue. Of course, despite all of the huffing and puffing, the UN has even less business interfering with the decisions of state governments and voters than Holder does.
The latest round of UN denunciations came after midterm-election voters in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., joined Colorado and Washington State in completely overturning marijuana prohibition — even for recreational use. Due to unconstitutional federal statutes and regulations purporting to criminalize the plant nationwide, the move was widely viewed as an example of nullification. Other states have nullified everything from UN Agenda 21 to unconstitutional federal attacks on gun rights.
About half of the states so far have also nullified U.S. statutes against the use of medical marijuana, with more expected to do the same in the years to come as the trend spreads. Other states have decriminalized possession of the plant but stopped short of full legalization. As nullification of unconstitutional federal decrees surges in prominence and legitimacy, experts expect the trends to continue on mairjuana and a broad range of other issues.
In addition to unconstitutional federal prohibition, a series of decades-old unconstitutional agreements by the UN and its largely autocratic member regimes also purports to prohibit the substance around the globe. However, because the federal government has no constitutional power to ban substances — that is why alcohol prohibition, for example, required an amendment to the Constitution — the U.S. government cannot legitimately expand its authority merely by signing a UN treaty. This was made clear by the Founding Fathers and even the Supreme Court more recently. Still, the UN has been slamming the developments for years.
As The New American reported in 2012, in response to decisions by voters in Colorado and Washington State, UN International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) boss Raymond Yans called on Holder to ignore state laws, the U.S. Constitution, and the will of voters by “challenging” the successful referendums. “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,” argued the UN’s Yans. Holder never did, perhaps sensing an impending defeat in court, or perhaps due to the administration’s own tacit support for the marijuana trends.
The next year, when the South American nation of Uruguay ended marijuana prohibition, the UN drug bureaucrats similarly went into a frenzy, denouncing the country for defying the global drug war without UN permission. “Just as illicit drugs are everyone’s shared responsibility, there is a need for each country to work closely together and to jointly agree on the way forward for dealing with this global challenge,” Fedetov complained in a statement cited on the UN “News” Center.
But for critics, the issue of UN interference in domestic affairs goes far beyond marijuana. “The UN is notorious for authoring and flogging treaties that address everything from free speech to gender equality, but the thing they’re best at is ignoring state sovereignty as it is defined in the Constitution,” observed American attorney Amy Miller at Legal Insurrection. “Their premise is that there exists an international norm that the states are flaunting, and it’s the administration’s job to get those states in line with the prescribed norm.”
The UN’s outlandish and increasingly aggressive efforts to dictate policy in the United States are the real problem here, she continued. “Whether you support legalization or not, this issue is a hill to die on,” Miller concluded. “If it were just about pot, I’d say we should ignore the UN and let voters choose to either welcome or reject their new stoner overlords; but this isn’t just about pot. This is about an international organization attempting to pierce the protection of the Constitution and insert itself into state-level governance.”
“That’s the stuff downfalls are made of,” she added.
Other critics of the UN’s anti-American and anti-constitutional positions said it was time for the global outfit’s drug bureaucracies to go. “At this point, we’d be better off without the UNODC,” Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann with the anti-prohibition Drug Policy Alliance told Fox News. Either way, though, the UN’s prohibition conventions have “no teeth” and are counterproductive. “[UN drug czar] Fedotov is going through the motions … but the decision’s already been made,” he said.
Of course, there are good reasons for the public to be weary of marijuana, including even recent studies cited by The New American that suggest consumption of the psychoactive plant can lead to a broad range of health concerns. However, from a constitutional point of view, neither the UN nor the federal government should have any say in how sovereign states decide to deal with the very real problems brought about by drugs. As the Tenth Amendment makes clear, any powers not delegated to the feds are reserved for the states or the people.
If nothing else, Americans of all persuasions should celebrate the renaissance of nullification and federalism being witnessed across the country as both liberals and conservatives work to free their states from the anti-constitutional dictates of Washington, D.C., and its political class. Even more importantly, though, more American states defying the UN should be considered a welcome development — especially as the so-called “dictators club” increasingly seeks to impose dangerous and anti-constitutional policies on the free and independent American people.