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The UN Really Hates the New Pot Laws in the U.S.

The official opening night of Club 64, a marijuana-specific social club in Denver, on New Year’s Eve 2012
The official opening night of Club 64, a marijuana-specific social club in Denver, on New Year’s Eve 2012Photograph by Brennan Linsley/AP Photo

Federal officials aren’t the only ones in a bind over the legalization of pot for recreational use in both Colorado and Washington State. The new laws are causing a rub internationally, as well.

The U.S. is one of 185 countries that signed the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, an international treaty that limits marijuana and 118 other drugs to medical and scientific uses. According to the United Nations, the statutes in Colorado and Washington put the U.S. in violation of that treaty. They “undermine the humanitarian aims of the drug-control system and are a threat to public health and well-being,” Raymond Yans, president of the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board, said at a press conference this week. He also decried medical marijuana laws as “a backdoor” to wholesale legalization.