The World Health Organization said Friday in Vienna that it needed more time to decide if marijuana should be removed from international drug treaties.
The WHO was due to report on cannabis to the UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs, a body that can add or remove drugs from international treaties banning them, or give them a higher or lower priority.
The decision closes a path, for now, to solving an awkward situation that Canada finds itself in internationally after legalizing recreational marijuana.
Canada has signed three UN drug treaties, one dating from 1961, pledging to ban marijuana (along with other drugs). As we know, the federal Liberals were elected in 2015 on a platform of legalizing recreational marijuana, and that became a reality three years later.
The Liberals faced questions about what it planned to do about the treaties as legalization was being debated — a July 1, 2017 deadline to withdraw from them came and went.
In the end, Ottawa decided to live with the contradiction of staying within the treaties and legalizing marijuana at the same time.