Russia accuses Canada of breaking a world’s rules-based order in drug control

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Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on legalization of cannabis in Canada

On October 17, 2018, the day of the official legalization of cannabis in Canada, Maria Zakharova, the Spokeswoman of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, condemned Canada for violating its international legal obligations on drug control.

During her press-briefing in Moscow, Maria Zakharova proclaims the actions performed in this sphere in Canada being “drug-liberal.” According to her, it will lead to negative effects not only on Canadian citizens, but also on the world’s established drug control regime formed by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 and the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988. As such, Canada’s stand on recreational use of pot is seen in Russia as running counter to the concept of the global rules-based order actively promoted by the Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. “Consciously destroying the international drug control system, the Canadian government creates the world’s largest commercial drug market which, despite all assurances and planned measures to prevent the export of marijuana abroad, will highly likely promote a drastic increase of its trafficking to other countries,” assures the Russian Spokeswoman. Russia expects a need to take additional steps against a potential smuggling of cannabis and its derivatives from Canada.

Bill C-45 on legalizing the recreational use of cannabis in Canada was passed by the Senate of the country on June 19, 2018, while the official sales started on October 17, 2018, and were marked by consumers lining up across Canada, as reported by media sources. Public and private retailers are legally licensed to sell pot under certain conditions, including the minimum age of a buyer and a maximum weight of a product possession per consumer. Various regulations on retailers, places of consumption and marijuana planting are applied in different provinces. Canada became the second country in the world after Uruguay and the first G7 country to legalize recreational cannabis.

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