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International Obligations


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Could the U.S. be breaking United Nations conventions as pot becomes more and more legal? That's a question raised in a December report by the RAND Corporation's Drug Policy Research Center. The nonpartisan group wrote that the U.N.'s International Narcotics Control Board has been critical of both the U.S. and Uruguay for slackening marijuana laws in the two countries. According to a Journalist's Resource report, nearly all U.N. countries are signatories to several anti-drug conventions and have "agreed to punish citizens who violate these principles."

And while Attorney General Eric Holder said he would consider "international obligations" while determining the fed's position on Colorado and Washington's legalization, the eventual response didn't address the U.N. conventions, the report says.

The RAND study, called "Before the Grand Opening," takes a look at how increasingly lax marijuana laws in Spain, Belgium, Uruguay and the U.S. might have a bearing on the U.S.'s own federal laws. It seems the U.S. is breaking ground. One of the study's authors, Beau Kilmer, wrote in the New York Times that, "Contrary to many peoples' assumptions, not even the Netherlands has gone this far."

Check out the report at www.rand.org.


Hoax alert — how many dimwitted bush league "satire" websites are there? Lots, apparently (see the Jan. 16 and Jan. 9 Weeks in Weed). Last week, website Abril Uno (get it? Yeah, that's the caliber we're dealing with) posted an article saying that tobacco giant Philip Morris is getting into the weed game with it's new "M" brand marijuana cigarettes. The article sailed around social media for a bit, garnering more than a million Facebook posts. In reality, Philip Morris hasn't said a thing about marijuana, and despite much speculation that dates back to the '60s (remember those rumors that megatobacco was copyrighting names like "Acapulco Gold?"), it's unclear how much thought corporate farms have given — if any — to wading into the marijuana business. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, remember. And (as reported in the Journal's Jan. 9 cover story "This is What Legalization Looks Like") Washington has strict limits on the allowable size of marijuana grows and controls to keep anyone from dominating the market from cultivation to retail. It's not exactly corporate ag-friendly. Bill Phelps, a spokesman for Phillip Morris, somewhat vaguely told the Associated Press in December 2012 — shortly after Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana — that the company doesn't discuss future plans publicly. "Tobacco companies are in the business of manufacturing and marketing tobacco products," Phelps said.

What gets you to the Humboldt County Fair every year? Footlong bacon? The Gravitron? Winning at the ponies? Grain art? Coloradans have a new draw. Debuting at this year's Denver County Fair: Weed prizes. Yup. According to the Associated Press, fair organizers introduced weed categories to the yearly celebration of the kitschy, homespun and handmade. There will be prizes for live plants, pot food, hemp clothing and homemade roach clips. Yup. Would being high enhance the flavors of a homemade pecan pie? Or make that potato diorama more hilarious? Or make that poodle quilt more palatable? Hard to say. And hard to imagine that Humboldt County's fair organizers would bring pot kitsch before a judging panel — even post-legalization.

Check out the first of this year's speaker series brought to you by the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research. Sheigla Murphy — director of the Center for Substance Abuse Studies at the Institute for Scientific Analysis (whew) — will present the results of interviews with 50 San Francisco marijuana users as part of ongoing research into the habits of pot smoking baby boomers. It's free and it happens Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 5:30 p.m. in HSU's Native Forum Room (Behavioral and Social Sciences 162). Get smart.


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