The United Nations (U.N.) drugs control board says legal cannabis has health risks. They’re warning of “negative health effects and psychotic disorders” with legalization. They also worry that legalization violates the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
You’d think after sixty-two years of evidence dispelling reefer madness myths, the U.N. would have an updated view. But alas, they repeat the mantra that cannabis is “highly addictive and liable to abuse,” As per the Convention, it has no scientific or medical use.
“In all jurisdictions where cannabis has been legalized, data show that cannabis-related health problems have increased,” the U.N.’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said.
But what exactly is this data showing?
U.N.: Legal Cannabis Has Risks… But What Are They?
The U.N. says legal cannabis has adverse risks and cites data to support these claims. But what are these risks?
According to the global busybodies, “The most concerning effect of cannabis legalization is the likelihood of increased use, particularly among young people.”
Remember that no country or state has legalized cannabis for children (unless for medical purposes). So they’re talking about young adults—individuals capable of making their own choices.
But the U.N.’s legal cannabis risks also involve children who have accidentally consumed cannabis products, like edibles. Of course, the data is skewed to legal states since a parent can take their child to the hospital without receiving criminal charges.
And even if they control for this, more children accidentally ingesting edibles is not a valid argument against criminalizing adults who choose to consume cannabis.
We wouldn’t reconsider alcohol prohibition because kids get into the liquor cabinet.
If this was the U.N.’s only concern about legal cannabis risks, we could safely ignore them. Public health busybodies concerned about children accidentally ingesting cannabis are nothing new.
However, the U.N. goes further. It says the “most concerning effect” of legalization is the increased use. Even among adults. They’re concerned that “legalized cannabis products lowers the perception of risk and of the negative consequences involved in using them.”
The U.N. is worried about the “trivialization” of legal cannabis risks.
INCB President Jagjit Pavadia said: “The expanding cannabis industry is marketing cannabis-related products to appeal to young people and this is a major cause for concern as is the way the harms associated with using high-potency cannabis products are being played down.”
U.N. Says These Are the Legal Cannabis Risks
According to the U.N., “Between 2000 and 2018, global medical admissions related to cannabis dependence and withdrawal increased eight-fold. Admissions for cannabis related psychotic disorders have quadrupled worldwide.”
They also say, “Statistical evidence from Colorado (United States) shows that fatal traffic accidents with drivers under the influence of cannabis nearly doubled from 2013 to 2020.”
We’ve covered a lot of these myths before. But consider the various problems with using statistical evidence.
- Correlation vs. Causation: Statistical evidence often shows a strong correlation between two variables but does not necessarily mean one variable causes the other. Policy decisions based on correlation alone may not be practical or have unintended consequences.
- Misleading data: Statistics can be manipulated or presented as dishonest, leading to incorrect conclusions and poor policy decisions. For example, almost every study on fatal traffic accidents and cannabis consumption uses a biased sample or selectively chooses data to support an anti-cannabis conclusion.
- Incomplete data: Researchers can limit statistical evidence through the availability of data. Government policy decisions based on incomplete or insufficient data can lead to poor outcomes.
- Confounding variables: Other factors may influence the outcomes observed in the data. Failure to account for these confounding variables can lead to incorrect conclusions and ineffective policies.
- Ethical concerns: Ethical concerns exist around using statistical evidence to inform government policy. For example, the U.N. is infantilizing a group of individual adults due to their status as “young people.”
What About The Successes of Cannabis Legalization?
While no state or country has gotten cannabis legalization right, it’s clear that not criminalizing people for a plant is a step in the right direction.
Not so, according to the U.N. Despite legal states being in the early stages of this industry, the U.N. has declared cannabis legalization a failure.
Pavadia said: “Evidence suggests that cannabis legalization has not been successful in dissuading young people from using cannabis, and illicit markets persist.”
As well, tax revenue has been lower than expected. Ergo, the successes of cannabis legalization don’t override the adverse severe health risks the U.N. claims to have found.
While the U.N. uses their skewed and incomplete data to make claims about legal cannabis’ alleged harms, they later cite that this data is “limited and often too recent to draw meaningful conclusions.”
The U.N. says governments should embark on studies and research before making “long term binding decisions.” Funny, because you could have made the same argument in the early 20th century when cannabis was initially banned.
The U.N. reminds governments that they have “significant flexibility,” regarding cannabis offences—everything up to actually legalizing it.
Heaven forbid citizens make decisions within their own borders regarding the production and use of a nontoxic medicinal herb.
According to the U.N., the “cannabis industry lobby” wants legalization to “broaden their commercial profit.”
The U.N. also wants medical cannabis regimes to conform to World Health Organization standards.
How Useless is the United Nations?
On a scale of one to ten, how useless is the United Nations? I’d say 11 or 12.
This U.N. drug report is also concerned about a surge in cocaine production and trafficking. Of course, the United Nations has been as effective at disrupting the cocaine trade as they were with cannabis.
The U.N. also blames the opioid crisis on “illegal manufacturing and increased drug smuggling,” rather than the illegality of these substances.
If I set out to achieve a goal in 1961 and by 2023, the result was worse than before, I’d have to do some serious soul-searching.
But not the U.N.
They will never win the drug war by focusing on supply. You’d think the U.N. would understand this after all these years, but when your paycheque incentives you to misdiagnose the problem and apply the wrong remedies…
Speaking of which, the U.N drug board is also concerned that not enough nations have a sufficient secure supply of patented pharmaceuticals.
The U.N. report says legal cannabis has health risks and that we should trust pharma. Exactly what you’d expect from this international body.
The United Nations may be the most useless institution ever devised by the human race. Consider this report another nail in their coffin.