Drug Treaties Do Not Empower Congress To Override Or Repeal State Referenda Legalizing Marijuana

In a press release last week, the President of the International Narcotics Control Board, Raymond Yans, asserted that the recent referenda legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington “are in violation of the international drug control treaties.” He is almost certainly wrong about that; federal drug laws keep the United States in compliance with such treaties regardless of changes in state law. But Yans then seems to suggest that the federal government could somehow override or repeal the state referenda, on the strength of these treaties. He’s almost certainly wrong about that too, as Jacob Sullum explains over at Reason (citing my Harvard Law Review article, Executing the Treaty Power).

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