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No International Backlash Over Canada’s Cannabis Legalization, Says Trudeau

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that fears of an international backlash after legalizing adult-use cannabis in 2018 were entirely unfounded, offering hope to nations considering cannabis reform.

In a recent interview with France.TV, Trudeau discussed the country’s trailblazing move into adult-use cannabis legalization, describing it as an easy transition with few significant societal changes other than a reduction of pressure on the judicial system.

“The only downside that worried us a lot was that it was going to put us outside of certain international treaties on the fight against drugs,” said Trudeau.

“We said to ourselves: ‘Are people going to punish Canada because we are not aligned with the treaties?’ Nobody talked to us about that. People watched with interest what we were doing.

“The other ‘downside’ is that there is still work to be done, but there is nothing that would be negative enough to even say that we should not have done it.”

The potential violation of UN treaties, specifically the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, has repeatedly been cited as a barrier to cannabis liberalisation over the past few years.

It played a large part in Germany’s recent rollback of plans to launch a commercial adult-use market and remains a key consideration for the Czech Republic’s cannabis project, the last in Europe to be pushing for a commercial market.

Furthermore, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), currently considering whether to reschedule cannabis to a Schedule III substance, has previously cited international treaties as a reason to shut down previous attempts at reform.

Trudeau’s statements could provide international lawmakers with the confidence to push ahead with similar reforms without fear of severe repercussions.

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