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Published:December 11th, 2013 17:04 EST

UN Condemns Uruguay`s Move to Legalize Cannabis

By SOP newswire3

Amid growing debate over international drug control policy in Latin America, the United Nations drug and crime agency today said that a decision by the Uruguayan parliament to legalize cannabis is a strike against international cooperation.

The head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yuri Fedotov said that confronting illicit drugs and their impact is dependent on pursuing a comprehensive response to the problem based on health, long-term security, development and institution-building.

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, " he said in a statement.

The move, which Mr. Fedotov termed unfortunate ", comes ahead of a special session on the ongoing world drug problem, to be held at the UN General Assembly in 2016.

He noted that next year, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs will hold a high-level review of Member States` implementation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on the world drug problem and said that would have been an opportunity for countries to pursue a coherent approach to drug trafficking.

Mr. Fedotov also said that UNODC agrees with the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), an independent and quasi-judicial monitoring body mandated to implement UN international drug control conventions, which earlier today said it regrets " the decision by Montevideo.

In its statement, the Board said "the legislation to legalize production, sale and consumption of cannabis for non-medical purposes approved yesterday in Uruguay contravenes the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, to which Uruguay is a party. "

INCB President Raymond Yans said he was surprised " that policymakers knowingly decided to break the universally agreed and internationally endorsed provisions of the treaty. "

The Vienna-based agency also noted that Uruguayan policymakers failed to consider the negative impacts on health which confirm that cannabis is an addictive substance with serious consequences and longer-term development applications.

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