Keith Humphreys answers questions about international law as it applies to pot legalization:
Is the U.S. currently in violation of the UN treaties it signed agreeing to make marijuana illegal? No. The U.S. federal government is a signatory to the treaty, but the States of Washington and Colorado are not. Countries with federated systems of government like the U.S. and Germany can only make international commitments regarding their national-level policies.
Constitutionally, U.S. states are simply not required to make marijuana illegal as it is in federal law. Hence, the U.S. made no such commitment on behalf of the 50 states in signing the UN drug control treaties.
Some UN officials believe that the spirit of the international treaties requires the U.S. federal government to attempt to override state-level marijuana legalization. But in terms of the letter of the treaties, Attorney General Holder’s refusal to challenge Washington and Colorado’s marijuana policies is within bounds.
So when are we going to grasp the real weed and start the debate to repeal or amend that silly treaty? I guess when most of our current Senators are dead.