Raymond Yans does not want Uruguay to legalise cannabis
By Chris Bovey
Apparently Uruguay is breaking the International Conventions on Drug Control with the Cannabis Legislation approved by its Congress.
That’s according to this lame press release sent out by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). They say they regret the decision. They have quoted some unknown and unheard of bureaucrat, Raymond Yans, President of the INCB, saying he was “surprised that a legislative body that has endorsed an international law and agreements, and a Government that is an active partner in international cooperation and in the maintenance of the international rule of law, knowingly decided to break the universally agreed and internationally endorsed legal provisions of the treaty”.
Raymond Yans further states that “the main aim of the 1961 Single Convention is to protect the health and welfare of humankind. Cannabis is controlled under the 1961 Convention, which requires States Parties to limit its use to medical and scientific purposes, due to its dependence-producing potential.”
Right, because prohibition of cannabis has been such an overwhelming success, hasn’t it? Trillions of dollars have been spent worldwide policing these daft laws and millions of people (usually at the bottom end of the ladder) have been incarcerated for what is a victimless crime, yet pot is still somehow everywhere and the market is controlled largely by organised crime.
An estimated six million people use cannabis in the UK alone and throughout the planet (according to the World Health Organisation) about 147 million people use cannabis (2.5% of the world population). I’ve no idea as to the validity of these figures, I don’t have time to personally count all the stoners, but I think we can safely say, a lot of people on Earth consume cannabis. This is hardly surprising, considering it’s a natural herb that is easy to grow and people enjoy using, precisely because of its safe recreational and medicinal properties. People have been smoking pot for thousands of years and are not going to stop now despite the protestations of Raymond Yans and the INCB.
Mr Yans’ assertion that cannabis is prohibited to protect “the health and welfare of humankind” due to it’s “dependence-producing potential” is total nonsense. Cannabis has never killed anyone, you’d have to smoke a joint the size of a telegraph poll to consume a level of cannabis that would be toxic. It is impossible to overdose on cannabis; you have to smoke your entire body weight in five minutes time for an overdose to occur (which can never happen in real life). Furthermore, asides from being considered one of the safer recreational drugs, cannabis is not addictive; these are all widely proven scientific facts and it’s just tedious to keep on having to counteract this Reefer Madness crap from the likes of Raymond Yans.
Mr Yans is spouting the same old bullshit to defend prohibition. This is from a man who draws a large tax payer funded salary (with expenses, fancy office and all the trimmings) to head an organisation whose only purpose is to defend and maintain the failed policies of prohibition. I suspect this man is more interested in keeping his job than the health of the people of Uruguay.
Although Uruguay is the first country in modern times to officially legalise cannabis, The Netherlands has permitted the sale and consumption of cannabis in its world famous coffeeshops since the 1970s. The Netherlands is probably one of the most well run countries I have ever visited, I’m not sure how they manage to do that with all those coffeeshops selling cannabis, instead of leaving it to the criminal black market. Probably because cannabis is less harmful than alcohol and it makes sense to sell it in a legal regulated market, rather than leave it to organised crime.
Spain, Portugal, The Czech Republic, and Belgium all have fairly liberal laws concerning cannabis, compared to the UK, yet they all manage to function.
Of course, if Mr Yans really cared about our health, he would know the only really dangerous forms of cannabis are ones that have been mixed with adulterants by unscrupulous criminals to further augment their already huge tax-free profits. I’m talking about soapbar or gritweed, which is certainly dangerous to consume, not because of the cannabis, but the adulterants such as plastic or silicone that have been added to it. This can only be ended with the kind of regulation being introduced by President José Mujica.
If Raymond Yans actually did some research, he would discover it is much better to know exactly what kind of cannabis you are consuming, such as whether it is an Indica or Sativa and the THC:CBD ratio. However, this is generally only known if cannabis is sold in a regulated market. For most of the time, people buy inferior quality cannabis, not knowing what it is, because they just buy whatever their dealer has to offer at the time.
Thanks to the work of the UK Cannabis Social Clubs, much more is being done to highlight the benefits of consuming properly grown weed and knowing exactly what strain it is you are using. Unfortunately, it appears common sense falls on deaf ears when it comes to the INCB; I’ve sent an email to Mr Yans, I bet I do not even get a reply.
The INCB Press Release is littered with the same old Reefer Madness nonsense: the usual lies about cannabis being addictive, lowering IQ; frankly there are too many for me to be bothered to respond to in this blog.
Raymond Yans pulls that old chestnut about protecting young people, but surely if you wish for minors not to consume cannabis, you ensure it is only sold in a legal regulated market, as is happening in Uruguay and already two States in the USA, with more to follow. In The Netherlands, they actually have lower cannabis usage amongst under 18s than in the UK, almost certainly because cannabis is pretty much only sold in licensed coffeeshops who face strict sanctions if they are caught selling to minors.
Retired Detective Inspector from the London Metropolitan Police, Rowan Bosworth-Davies told NORML UK: “As President of LEAP UK, I would say that nothing the President of the INCB, Raymond Yans, says or does really surprises me with this regard. He represents a self-appointed elite who are simply unwilling to consider any impetus for change or evolution, and who sit, immovably, in the middle of a series of rules which appear incapable of reform or reconsideration.
“He talks glibly about evidences demonstrating harm, while ignoring the evidences which show different findings. He cherry-picks those arguments which best serve his agenda, while refusing to consider the views of those with whom he disagrees. He represents an agency that denies alternative voices an audience, and he refuses to listen to those organisations, which his own body and their supporters refuse to admit to membership.
“I applaud and encourage the Government of Uruguay to continue with their brave experiment and not to be intimidated by the implied bullying of the INCB and its fellow-travellers,” said Mr Bosworth Davies.
José Mujica’s decision to introduce a legal regulated cannabis market and to stick two fingers up at Raymond Yans and the International Narcotics Control Board is an inspirational one that we know is going to be privately observed by policy makers throughout the world.
President José Mujica is a giant of a man, a president who chooses to live in a simple farm rather than the Presidential Palace and who donates 90% of his salary to charity. He is the polar opposite of Raymond Yans, a faceless bureaucrat who draws an exorbitant salary to tell lies and release nonsense Press Releases to defend the indefensible.
It looks like José Mujica will not be the only world leader to face chastisement from Raymond Yans. The Prime Minister of St Vincent & Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, is considering the legalisation of medical marijuana. The Moroccan Parliament too is looking at legalising marijuana cultivation and exports (they might as well, since they grow and export thousands of tons of it anyway). No doubt Raymond Yans will be sending them to the naughty step if they break with convention and liberalise cannabis laws. Who knows, with two States in the USA legalising and more certainly to follow, maybe Raymond Yans will have to give Obama a good ticking off … after all there are cushy salaries and plush offices in Vienna at stake here.