UN’s Anti-Drug Agency: Smoking Pot Carries Health Risks Like Tobacco

Head of UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) Viroj Sumyai warns of public health risks of recreational cannabis. (File photo)

The head of the UN anti-drug agency, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), fears that the ongoing trend of marijuana legalization is normalizing a risky drug.

In a recent interview with the Spanish-language EFE, Viroj Sumyai warned of public health risks following the legalization of the recreational cannabis. 

Last year, Uruguay became the first country in the world that legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and Canada is following suit this summer.

Sumyai said:

“There is a misperception that cannabis is not bad. When we talk about smoking marijuana there is a risk, just like when we talk about smoking tobacco. Marijuana also has dangerous chemicals.”

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Pharmacies Uruguay now sell recreational marijuana. (File photo via Reuters)

The INCB’s head cited the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, which was amended by the 1972 Protocol, saying these substances should only be used for medical and scientific purposes.

UN Report, Canada

In its recently reported published last week in Vienna, INCB  said the medical and recreational use of cannabis in South America reduces “the perception of risk” of the drug.

In the report, the UN agency expressed concern over Canada’s imminent weed legalization.

“The Board notes with concern that in Canada, draft legislation intended to authorize and regulate the nonmedical consumption of cannabis was introduced in the House of Commons in April 2017,”  the UN report said.

“As the Board has stated repeatedly if passed into law, provisions of Bill C-45, which permit the non-medical and non-scientific use of cannabis would be incompatible with the obligations assumed by Canada under the 1961 Convention as amended.”

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A man smokes marijuana during an annual 4/20 rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, April 20, 2016. (Image via Reuters)

The report also described the UK as the number producer and exporter of so-called legal cannabis despite the illegal use of medical marijuana in Britain.

It is unclear how the UN will fully react with the inevitable increased export of cannabis worldwide.

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