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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 17, 2014 10:00am-12:01pm EDT

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admit they botched attempt to stop the ebola outbreak in west africa. a couple updates on our coverage of the story today on the c-span networks. this secretary of state john kerry will be sticking to the diplomatic corps this morning. live coverage of that for you just moments over on c-span, 10 a.m. eastern. eastern. president obama was speaking to the consumer protection financial bureau, financial protection bureau this morning. it's not certain he's going to say something about ebola but if he does we will be there live to have before you, and the white house briefing as well. that's coming up at 1:00 eastern. all of that coverage today over on our companion network c-span. he on c-span2 will take you live now to the brookings institution where they're just about to get underway with a discussion on the international impact of legalizing marijuana in the u.s. it will start momentarily live here on c-span2.
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> welcome good morning, everybody. i'm john walsh, i'm with the washington office unlike america and its my behalf or -- to want me to this morning's event on the international impact of the u.s. trend towards marijuana legalization. this is the sixth event in the brookings series on legal marijuana. it again in october 2012 with an eye to what might happen if, in fact, the states of colorado and washington voted to approve legal marijuana. in fact, that it happened. we've had a series of events since then about federalism issues, about public opinion, and have published a cities of
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papers including two recent papers on the rollout of legal marijuana in the states of colorado and washington. today's topic is going to be what are the international impacts of this shift within the united states, especially given the fact that the united states was the chief architect and has for decades been the prime defend of the u.n. drug control system in its sweep of treaties. to help us answer that question today we are privileged to have with us wells bennett of government studies and the managing editor of lawfare. martin jelsma, director of the drug and democracy program at the transnational institute of the netherlands. lisa sanchez of mexico unido contra la delincuencia based in mexico city. and sandeep chawla, recent retired after 20 years of united nations office on drugs and crime where he was
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simultaneously deputy director and director of research and policy. just a few words about our format and some acknowledgments. we will go panelist by panelist and each will make brief opening remarks. we will have the conversation among ourselves, and they will open it for questions from the audience. a couple of acknowledgments. i want to recognize my colleague at brookings, jon rauch, who's been a close partner throughout this research. raise your hand. i also want to acknowledge the generous support from the good dangers foundation whose support has made this event and several of our papers possible. now, a hint of what the international impact of the u.s. shift on legal -- assistant secretary of state william
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brownfield at the u.n. where he said in part, how could i come and representative of the government of the united states of america, be intolerant of a government that prevents any experimentation with legalization of marijuana? if two of the 50 states of the united states of america have chosen to walk down that road. so i think that's the end of an answer of the profound impact of the changes, changes in the united states already having on the debate. so a couple other housekeeping issues. you are welcome to join this conversation on twitter, #bimj, and without further ado, wells. >> john, let me begin by expressing my gratitude to be a part of this panel. i'm really glad to see all of you be taking part in the discussion.
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weekly, i just wanted to essentially say two things. one, set out some of the international legal contexts as it applies to the united states. involving experiment with marijuana, including the united states argument as to why it is in compliance with the international drug policy. and just for ever briefly under we'll get into this in the discussion in the q&a, talk about the upside and downside of the u.s. approach. the legal setting. it is almost certainly not new to people is room that it applies to three accords to which the nazis as a party, one than in 1961 and amended in 1972, another 1971 and still another in 1998 concerning illicit trafficking. in the interest of time and keeping everyone awake i won't recite legal provisions to you but suffice it to say, together
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these instruments deal rather strongly with the drugs within the purview and that includes marijuana. name a few pretty well-known examples, the general provisions of the 1961 convention enjoined upon the party an obligation to take all such methods needed to limit drugs including marijuana to scientific and medical purposes. so-called penal provisions which obligates the parties to punch most forms of marijuana activity. 1998 goes further in this regard and explicitly requires the criminalization of many forms of drug activity, again marijuana counts as a drug. now it is true that there's kind of a legal debate in the margins about exactly what that might mean for the united states, which has conditionally tolerated the creation and washington states, colorado markets for legal marijuana. there are two claims. one is that there's policy
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flexibility in the treaties that the united states insensitive to the so-called whole memo issued by the deputy attorney general that united states can pick and choose its enforcement priorities and provided that those don't get offended and a consort of see what happens with marijuana. is also a broader policy, namely, the treaties have broad objectives ensuring access to critical medicine, for example, and that the trees give a lot of discretion to figure out how to achieve this objective. the idea in summary words is those objectives are consistent or not inconsistent with a condition of toleration for marijuana. the united states is paired of his argument with kind of a long-term vision. that vision is that the treaties shouldn't be changed. they are as good as they are. and that all the international community should come together in a discussion and agreed on a way to live within them while
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accommodating changes to the drug policy, marijuana. the core of this is to say these are living documents that need to be reinterpreted from time to time. we should figure out their space, we can all a comment about. that's essentially what the assistant secretary is saying there. that's the u.s. position in a nutshell. one of the downsides? in the short term this probably makemake some pragmatic sense. the world a lot of good options for the united states. a lawsuit found on preemption, on the doctrine of federal statutes -- it was not economically a very smart idea to just and a trove into washington, colorado and shut the whole thing down. there's kind of a lease battle alternative, difficult choice, major kind and play there that
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doesn't explain. there's also the prospect of marijuana legalization a network and ago badly. the trajectory may be reversed and if that happens the u.s. position is going to look pretty astute in the rearview mirror, that by policy, singh was going to happen and then waiting for the thing to point out, well, it didn't require any big adjustments to international treaties. the downside though is that it might work. marijuana legalization might go forward and might go forward smartly. and that he that it's going to be, there's already tension between u.s. position and the treaties. i think it's safe to say but that will only grow more acute when the legal arguments get less and less persuasive. that is why in a piece of junk that i've written we think treaty reform should be on the table and not off the table presumptively. because if the united states can claim policy flexibility in the treaty, for so long as it needs to, and the treaty partners are
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entitled to no less. i don't mean to be alarmist by saying this but that holds true not really in the drug treaty but other regimes with the u.s. as interest in compliance. most people would agree we do not want vladimir putin in the business of claiming unilateral flexibility with nuclear weapons or something. that's an example i used to illustrate the point. i don't mean to be an alarmist by. but that is the u.s. view, in my appraisal of it in so many words. i want to stop there because i don't want to take up too much time. i will pass it on to morton. >> thanks. thanks to brookings for this opportunity. i want to make three basic points. first, a little bit of history to the conventions that were also introduced and specifically dubious nature of how cannabis interest into the system, and secondly to show the wide
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variety of infections that are in practice already going on in this part of the world. and, finally, yeah, just some hints about how treaty reform, what the options are and also how potentially a special session in 2016 of the general assembly would be an opportunity to start a debate. so if we look back to how cannabis was negotiated into 1961 treaty, the one that is still also enforced, one of three. i think the most important point to make is that it has not been done on the basis of review of an expert committee. how the procedure normally
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should operate, the w.h.o. mandates to give recommendation to the u.n. about, yeah, in which schedule, which substance has to be proven under control. in the case of cannabis, no such review has been done. it was based, the political negotiation was based on working paper of the secretariat of the committee, which was not at all of scientific nature. it has a lot of quite dubious statements like not only is smoking o marijuana change per e but its use can lead the smoker to turn to heroin injections. since then those have been tested and proven at least questionable by scientific studies. but on the basis of documents,
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the political position was made to put it in schedule one, in four of the 61 conventions. and basically on the basis of a sort of conclusion of the working paper, that there is no justification for medical use of marijuana. so into negotiations there were several countries who tried to resist the inclusion of cannabis in principle, especially in also burma where large scale traditional use and also traditional medicinal use was in place, and religious views, don't forget in the case of india. old countries tried to prevent that cannabis would be included in the 1961 treaty. positions already at that time, they were negotiated and then points where no consensus could be found in effect, a vote was
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taken and they basically lost the vote. for cannabis ended up in the system. it is internationally to note that in june this year the w.h.o. expert committee did not have a working table on the first time for cannabis, and a review of cannabis by the world health organization is necessary for multiple reasons, the foremost being that medical use of cannabis has raised the issue here. so actually the w.h.o. may start now a process of finally first review of cannabis by this u.n. expert community. so second point. since the treaty regime was negotiated and implemented,
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there have been many different forms of soft, including country like india that allowed parts of country additional use, data, could continue. they could negotiate also one exception, cannabis leaves actually are not under control of the u.n. conventions. also in places where cannabis became more popular in the decades thereafter, several forms of soft defections from the regime, the criminalization of scenarios have evolved. the most known ones are i guess the coffee shops in the netherlands, the medical marijuana schemes here in the u.s. where implement in such a way that it goes beyond pure
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medical use. and the cannabis social clubs, and especially spain but also in, there are now some other countries. so all these three models now have legal difficulties to be defended but also in terms of implementation. both the medical marijuana schemes in some states at least here, but also it's happening now in countries like spain. there is certain legal space used and implemented in such a way that it goes way beyond the legal space on the basis of which is a justified. so yeah, the excrement haitian and these three models sort of have reached a limit of what you
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can possibly defend with applying the most flexible implementation of the treaty system. so that's where we are arriving now. decades of doubts and policy experimentation, legal hypocrisy have now reached the point where legal regulation is actually starting to happen, and gaining political acceptability, even if it grievances the u.n. convention. countries seeking more flexibly than the treaties allow, under u.n. under control system are likely to decrease further because the trend towards cannabis revelation, in my view, it appears to be irreversible. i don't see it really going away. there are more states here that are preparing referendum, but also in some other countries,
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things are slowly but surely moving in that direction. us also explained, the u.s., it has hesitance to acknowledge the legal regulation in the two states which is not happening is actually in direct violation. otherwise others are trying to find defense to argue that it is acceptable, and yeah, what's starting to happen is that countries are digging a trench around the convention, the regime. also in the preparations that are now starting for the u.n. special session, but out of the fear, this is sort of the last line of defense, the holding in place, the last straw of the
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broken global control consensus. this fear must be -- it is a normal thing for the international treaty regime to revolve. this system itself has evolved a few times at least in 1972. it was the u.s. initiative to start a whole series of momentum of the 1961 treaty, adding the next treaty was another example of an evolving system. originally the single -- the only one. so it is evolving. it's curious, in fact, that this regime doesn't have the real end else mechanism for review and
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modernization. most other treaties do have regular conferences of party where such difficulties of implementation can be discussed but also possibility of improvements can be easily discussed. those conferences of the party happen regularly. so in conclusion, what for many government officials, what a nightmare scenario is to now contain the whole world and to start negotiating from scratch and hold a single convention. differences in policies are wide at the moment. it will be very hard to find a new consensus -- fund -- in any short time physical. so there are i think two basic points to make. first lady -- firstly, the
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discussion about inconsistencies and also the legal conflicts with the treaty regime has to be an honest debate, even if it is not acknowledged that it will be very difficult to get the new convention on the table but let's at least have an honest debate about this. and secondly there are also options for adaptation in the regime that do not require full consensus of all the parties. the w.h.o. review is already one example. because if the w.h.o. would recommend a decent showing of cannabis, a position like that is taken by simple majority, not much consensus, is also the possibility of countries individually or in group to withdraw on the treaties and read it here with certain reservations, and there is the possibility also that a group of country can sign and agreement
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where they agree among themselves that treaty is applied in a different way while they still maintain their full obligations to all parties which are not a part of the agreement. so the regime has arrived at the moment of truth, and yeah, the question facing the international community today is no longer whether not there is a need to review, fall weather when it have to do. i think it is at least among the start of the debate. >> wells described the u.s. position currently. martin has given us a brief history of brought us right up to date. lethal dose about the impact on the debate and let america. martin mentioned uruguay to regulate marijuana. and sandeep will give us a perspective from his perch also
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within u.n. ose. lisa. >> thank you very much. i would like to first acknowledge that i'm very honored to be a part of this panel, so thank you much for the invitation and thank you for showing up. as john said my intervention there will be to provide some information on what is the debate going at the moment in latin america, what other possibility for latin america really joining or following the path that the u.n. states are at the moment following in terms of cannabis legalization. i would start by saying that they conversation on drugs and drug policy started already. although that particular conversation has found it's difficult to actually be translated into specific and concrete reforms at the domestic level. so most latin american countries are engaged in this debate, are
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more engaged at the state level than the historical level than they are in modifying their national drug policy there are there are a couple of examples that are very useful to illustrate the impact the cannabis legalization in the united states has in some of the countries of the southern border, and that is for example, the creation of political space for countries have a real debate at home and then potentially change some of the laws, the drug laws in latin america are particularly draconian. so the first example evidently is uruguay. as you know, uruguay became the first country to legalize cannabis from production to sell and consumption. it's a for specific country in the sense that consumers were never criminalized and uruguay and even had a law their authorized possession of
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prohibited substances in 1974, that's the law that was recently amended to allow to grow, production of cannabis in the entire territory. there are many challenges uruguay is facing at the moment and trying to implement its regulatory regime in, mainly because let's not forget even if contraband was not criminalized in the uruguay, uruguay doesn't have such a heavy experience that the u.s. had in terms of for example, the creation of the industry of medical cannabis that is now the industry that is slowly transforming itself into the recreational cannabis industry. so we are starting from scratch and there are of course many challenges. some of the people that are in the realm are advisors to the uruguay in government and are actually working on the very specifics of that particular regime, as for example, to
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adjust all of the regulatory tools that these regime could have, such as production and licenses, selling, whatever. what's interesting in there is the motivations behind drug policy reform and uruguay were completely different from the motivations that led to cannabis regulation in the united states. this has been the case also for other latin american countries. the main motivation there is security. security because the reason has face an epidemic of violence that has led, for example, in my own country, mexico, to decrease life expectancy of young males in one year due to the homicide crisis in the country. and this is so true for central america and also true for some parts of south america. so the main motivation for the president to change drug policies and try to explore alternatives was a preventive way of uruguay not becoming
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mexico and uruguay not getting trapped into these narco traffic, some other countries already trapped in. the of the motivation that some of the countries that joined this debate, particularly mexi mexico, the complete acknowledgment or recognition have been made in the past although all of the possible efforts to fight war on drug and to go after dealers and to be very punitive and very committed to drug control and seeing all of those strategies failing. that only because of the ability of drugs but also like the widespread of either new markets or new guns, or increasing the unintended negative consequences of the regime that all of these -- all things these policies cause. for example, in mexico the main motivation was after five years
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of president calderón actually fighting, organized crime and narco traffic through the use of military forces in the country, what we saw was levels of violence increasing to a point which we started, we stopped counting, or in 2011 when accounting was above 70,000 people killed, and 26 people disappeared that we have no idea where they are. and the most likely they were disappeared around state agencies and our own law enforcement agents. having those particular consequences, it became very unpopular but also became the opportunity for regimes to actually start demanding for alternatives because we fought the war on drugs and we've seen this is not only not working in terms of drug policy objectives,
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we are not producing guns, not reducing supply, but we are also causing a lot of externalities. .. welcome at the international level but they are still discussing the policy had adjoining the policy movement.
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the drug policy reform movement. for instance i was just in the c&d auto last week and invited by the congress and they were discussing this. in particular, they were discussing this kind of reform which is important to say that latin america has joined this reform movement and we are joining it with the hope of reforming first drug policies and laws in the region as regards to having that conversation in terms of cocaine or heroin. but what's interesting about these discussions is for example in chile we are looking at the models that were implemented in other countries with medical cannabis. one of the main deals in congress actually asked for the acknowledgment of this use of cannabis and they are now trying
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to schedule where it is currently sitting along with cocaine and other hard drugs and acknowledging is there a use and potentially allowing the growing of cannabis for medical purposes. chile has become one of the first countries in latin america that has authorized the cultivation of legal cannabis for medical use. they are starting a pilot project that will actually provide cannabis oil in the treatment for cancer patients. there will be a pilot for 200 patients to see how that goes and then go with the authorization of the government to actually do it. other countries are reforming their laws not necessarily to legalize marijuana but to allow, for example, the implementation of the effective policy in the case of argentina and also the case of the discussion that we are having in mexico, and that's
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also the case in some caribbean countries that are already revising their drug laws because of the massive impact and incarceration and a chronology should have young people and for people. but also because we are becoming of ourselves a consumer region as well so we just saw the regime's at the domestic level are not necessarily prepared to respond in a humane way and that is the case for example in brazil and become the most important consumer in latin america and that is also the case of mexico starting to develop methamphetamine and other hard drugs. just to conclude the house has provided latin america with the room to have this in a more open way and to participate at the national forum and to allow for
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the convention that has also raised some alarms in the sense that the mechanism you authorize further cannabis in colorado and washington are very different from one another and there are risks but most are aware of allowing the commercial all of cannabis. there are many challenges we need to work on together and i would say the first end of and the most important one is that you need to do it right so other countries in latin america are there to do it as well cause if it goes to bradley well in here they will join the particular debate. the second thing is that you really need to become more public saying that if you doubt
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that the agency of the convention to find that flexibility in order to fight not only the drug cartels but the violence and the unintended consequences. >> thank you. if i can start with making the three sets of remarks some tied type to the present and the future, the three are very closely linked and contained in the future so we can separate the three that i will try to go over the remarks. for the past and how it conditions the present, we live
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in a multistate system at the moment which was armed in europe in the middle of the 17th century. it gives absolute sovereignty to the individual states and in the international arena where the states come together it has nothing. what has come into place is the gradual incremental system that has developed to regulate the relationship between the state which we now call international law. the basis is the individual states but what they do internationally is very difficult to control it only works following the practice of
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the states rather than leaving it. after more than three decades of working through the united nations, one of the things that i realized is when we use all the time in the united nations which is a familiar discourse here is the international community. now this international arena is anything but a community. it is a contradiction to speak of an international community because nationally the countries are at variance with each other all the time. in this international community that we have called for such a long time, there are equal states but there are some states that are more equal than others.
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the first is the united states of america because it is one of the most powerful countries in the world probably the most powerful and it has had a very, very distinct role to play in the drug control system and the international drug control regime that we are speaking about and the reason for that is american foreign policy is interrelated because it wasn't was in the drug control area that the united states government made its first major intervention in international diplomacy. this happened at the beginning and at the history of the united states of the international community of the united nations into the context of the asian countries where it first
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happened has ultimately died because in 1898, following the spanish-american war the united states acquired control over the philippines. it was very difficult in the background into the history of the country to call it a colony because the united states and its own images in its own image is that of an anti-colonial nation but it did acquire control and in the philippines there was a serious problem. that led to the united states government convening the first conference that was part of the shanghai conference and that happened in 1909. that is the beginning of the drug control because that led to 1911 in the first convention. the united states was so closely
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involved in the development of this international regime that its foreign policy became closely tied to it in something else that is peculiar to the drug control and the united states which is in the context of the federal government and the states within the united states. the interplay between them in the international drug control played a crucial role in this because the federal government regularly used international treaties and the federal commitments of the united states government to be able to balance its commitments across the state because they had no power over the states in some of these
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areas. so the drug treaties as they were developed in the 20th century were frequently used by the united states government to cover all of its national tory end of this enabled a the drug control system to work and it also covers of the way in which the united states pursued its international agenda at the united nations even delete was never a member of the league of nations. it's role as influential and it was particularly influential in the united nations after the united nations was formed at the end of the second world war. and in the first treaty, the single convention which martin and others have mentioned on the panel, the notion, the model and the vision of drug control is incorporated into this and it
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was the one that the united states had the lead in developing since the shanghai commission. in this what happened is that the states that signed the single convention became in a certain sense obliged to have national legislation and backward support in the international treaties that have been mentioned are not just executed. they need to have states once they become signatories to have within it some sort of national legislation that allows them to work towards it and the model that was exported by the united states incorporated into the un system of drug control was a
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supply oriented model that emphasized more of an anything else that supply and interdiction and eradication. the situation was left pretty much to regulate themselves and it happened that since the supply of the drug circle was controlled the emphasis became controlling the supply of the drugs from outside. if for instance it had been internal but the battles were already fought in the first half of the century in the country and i don't need to repeat that history so it so happened that the sources of supply were outside of the country and the
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model of the control became one that emphasized extradition and interdiction and i rise arrives to the database internationally making this distinction between the producer and the presumed countries that plays into the international debate of the policy. now in the situation that we have at the moment and i now turn to the president the whole debate seems to have gone a full circle with colorado and washington because now what is happening is the ground on which the federal government has the drug control internationally and its several states within this country move along the part of
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washington and colorado than there that there is a danger that in the future the emperor may have no clothes. and at the international commitment will need to be adopted to face different situations because the policy of the united states is always sought to occupy the moral high ground. with drugs the moral high ground as the international convention. if the support for the convention is neighboring within the country then we need to deal with that reality into the government will have to deal with that reality in terms of how it pursues its policies internationally. since the high ground supporting
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the drug conventions has always meant that all of the very significant powers of the united states comes down against anybody transgressing the international system and against the power of the united states has frequently been exercised in the soft terms and in different ways against any state that pushed the limits of the conventions and whether it was against countries that in terms of the soft affection whether it was against the countries like bolivia, that is tried first amend the single convention and then eventually denounced it with a reservation or whether it was against countries like
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uruguay but it's completely different from washington. so we have to move now into the situation a situation in which the international leadership provided in the united nations among other areas will have to somehow be adopted to these new realities. that is one that we will see very clearly in 2016 the general assembly to look at this whole system and vote for us to try to anticipate what we can expect from this and what can reasonably be done before is it's because we need to have a situation in which something can
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be achieved and it's quite clear that for the the influenza of the united states government can be used to pursue the idea that would be a constructed debate forward. what can we do? the current coding remarks about the future acting it's quite clear if we have another self-congratulatory exercise but everything is well and fine in the world and drug control and we've eliminated the problem and we make the world of drug-free by a certain predetermined date, that isn't likely to happen. or it may have entitled it won't
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we can't expect another optimistic outcome which is at 2016 the nations of the world will agree to revise the drug treaties. that is a cumbersome process and it is unlikely to happen as well but i think it is realistic to hope for the fact that we will have some genuine debate. we need not come up with a declaration on all countries that we can have some debate about how the world has changed since the conventions were adopted. we can allow for a certain amount of space and flexibility for the countries to experiment with their own drug policies. this includes the united states with colorado and washington and what may happen and we may
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eventually get to the first step to remove what was the most vulnerable point of the system which was something that has been obvious that nobody has ever been able to do anything about it because of the multilateral consensus and that was to include cannabis in the same controlled regime as heroin and cocaine and methamphetamine. that oddity of the system needs to be removed. finally, to move towards that as i said earlier, i think the united states can use its influence in this global arena to make sure that it doesn't go
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before the general assembly of the un the way that marc mark anthony went before the senate of rome to say of caesar but in this case i'm talking about the convention i've come here to very caesar. thank you very much. >> everyone has hinted at the importance of the 2016 special session on drugs and it is worth mentioning that it's very likely that california among other states might also be voting by the popular initiative whether to legalize and regulate cannabis. other states may do that in the meantime so my question is do all the panelists why do the treaties matter if the united states is moving ahead anyway and asserting that flexibility exists and whether or not they suggest that or not.
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why should the government care what the point and why don't they just move ahead with the flexibility that now has been declared by the united states they depend upon the treaties to regulate the things they do if you promote the flexibility of the treaty, how much flexibility are you talking? do they share the view of the flexibility in this regime and are you going to have a more difficult time protesting when there is another out there that regulate something less significant to say you don't
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have that kind of flexibility. one of the nice features when you have a constant democratic dialogue among the parties and the treaties and those sort of things you can have this refreshing function and keep it going and maybe update but it's going on here is if you are having a conversation about the treaties that people agree is only going to get more visible over visible overtime and the more time that goes on, that is a lot of open space for you to claim flexibility. so pick your favorite regime where you don't. it could be the environment, counterterrorism. there are different .-full-stop there.
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all this talk now about using the flexibilities of the treaties to a certain extent it confirms the flexibility that the treaty has and should be used as much as possible for the countries to explore and there are countries that start the medical prescription to the problematic use and there are other policies where it takes place and where the tension with the treaties is also brought to the table.
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to stress that there is a considerable amount of flexibility at the same time there are limits and i would suggest now that this is happening which goes peon to the flexibility that the treaties allow, but it does break for the reasons of the treaties showed at this point of time not be the argument for the countries not to go ahead because it is done for the valid purposes because there were historical errors in the treaty's regime. so it should be an obstacle for the countries to proceed. the debate has to be honest and
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that is in part because if the countries are starting to take in à la cart approach to pick something they comply with that than undermining thing to happen the debate is important and there are also potentially positive outcomes of the modernization of the system where it can bring improvements to the control system that no one wants to completely throw away its not only the rules of the game and they have a strong symbol of importance in latin
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america because the domain elements that justify the militarization but it's also the opportunity that the countries have to actually correct some of the mistakes that were made into the united nations itself has acknowledged that there are several consequences that emanated out of the international drug control regime and if it is defined and defended by the mechanisms i think it's important for us to have this conversation and then allow the possibility for the countries to take new approaches that might reduce those externalities and consequences. and the discrimination on the drug productive market. >> if one speaks about the
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issues that we are discussing, then you have to pay some attention which the debate will take place. the format for this is the united nations. somebody of the united nations whether it is the general assembly or whether it is in the case of drugs that meets regularly to commission on drugs the difficulty with the debate and the context is that we think of the united nations as a monolithic body. it's very large. it's not monolithic and it has a lot of organizations within it. it also has a further distinction that is made between the states members and the permanent secretariat that sits
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in the large bureaucracy to serve these states members. i was a member of the bureaucracy for a very long time and the one thing that i see very clearly is what the secretary had to say before the membership of the united nations does not necessarily a quite without the membership of the united nations will decide to do in the debate or discussion and usually when it comes to a debate or discussion what happens is the lowest common denominator is adopted to cover the fact there are differences between the membership. either you get the deadlock and nothing happens or you do the next best thing where you have the fundamental divisions which
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is on the lowest common denominator because that will at least keep everybody in the tent and this difficulty is what we need to confront as far as the upcoming treaty reform because as it has been pointed out on the panel the place at which there is very little flexibility in the treaties is on cannabis that we can make the first steps towards that change and allow for much more space. on the other side there is enormous flexibility in the system but the problem is not the flexibility, the problem is the cultural underpinning of the
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way they've been implemented in the world at large and a way the way that they've been implemented in the world at large has emphasized the supply oriented edition of the treaties and pretty much left to the other part which was the right of users and so on and this can change and this has always been been there but on cannabis we have to take this step. this is the place at which the space given to countries can be used positively that the multilateral consensus is very slow to move forward on that one can do it and bought one has to guard against is the fact that there are too many vested interests in the world in favor
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of keeping the present system from taking over as it is and those interests need to be tackled. it's not necessarily negative. everybody is well-intentioned but there are huge beer rockers these in all of the major countries of the world and all of the small countries of the world in the united nations and the international organizations who all face that one paradox of their existence which is if you create a bureaucracy to solve a particular problem is that a if the bureaucracy solve the problem it is out of a job. so if you have real development in the world and the poverty of this whole international construction for the development
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this may sound cynical but this is something that we have to look very carefully at. >> i think our panelists have now given us a pretty clear sense of the major repercussions of what the voters unleashed in colorado and washington in 2012 and walked more may be to come. we would like to open up to the audience. we will recognize a few questions at a time and we still have a full half-hour. >> good morning and thanks for being here with us. i'm with the students for sensible drug policy. collection dates in 18 days.
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voters will be voting on tax marijuana and voters in florida and a love of the municipalities will be voting on. but those of us that live here in dc will be voting on the initiative 71 but since we don't allow the ballot initiatives to change policies it's just the legalization and so my question to you is in what way will this further attention between u.s. drug policy and the international drug control regime sends very likely the dc city council will take action to implement the system once we pass this which will pass overwhelmingly. and then potentially members of congress then have to weigh in to approve the changes which would point every federal lawmaker on the right girt password over the legalization.
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how does that further the attention in a way that is different than to tax and regulate the state level? >> i'm not sure that it's different than the other attacks and regulate regime's simply because the home rule act and i'm not an expert in the dc politics or federal politics by any measure but obviously if you have a prospect of people weighing in at the propriety of the policy it's going to raise their eyebrows but it exists because of the federal priorities of the controlled substance act. so in that respect i'm not sure that there will be a huge difference although you're right there is a difference because it
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is just another sort of of march in the belt of the place that will or won't comport with the objectives outlined. and there's an open question to that if you get the legalized tax to be the criteria set forth and arguably they would have no principled basis for proceeding here but not in washington or colorado. in terms of the attention for the international law is another move in the direction of more attention and things that we will have to address. >> let's take a few questions. we have mark, david and then tom
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>> attention is that the states are sovereign while the dc government is a creature of federal government it's hard to say we can't control what our own creature is doing. two or three comments on that general discussion. the notion that we can go around the treaty is somewhat attractive but in fact doing that is going to lead to a a data policy in particular state monopoly retailing which seems in many ways the best way to deal with cannabis and involves far more fundamental conflicts and the states can't do that so i think there is a big cost to try to dodge and weave. second it's important also to
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notice that the general idea that drugs with medical utility are risky and should be punished less seriously really makes no sense. heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine have great medical utility and the whole notion that they are medical and nonmedical drugs needs to go out. to have a sensible regime we have to get behind the idea of the scheduling and do it in a different way. what do we need these treaties for that internationally we need them not to do other than connive at exports of forbidden substances in the countries they are forbidden, do we need the treaty that says anything more than don't do that? as somebody that doesn't understand that the regime i'm waiting for somebody to tell me
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what would be worse in the world if the treaty documents disappeared tomorrow. >> we can go back to david and then tom and then go back to the panel. in the drug war chronicle newsletter my question is about how much potential does a reinterpretation has? if the nations were to adopt interpretations that seem to conflict with the treaty language but it got adopted, does that effectively changed the treaty and second, over time if interpretations conflict in the treaty language or not does
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that effectively changed the treaty or is that a stretch? >> i work with about transnational institute and on the comments that we have on the panel martin was hitting at the process around the treaty system and changing the institutions specifically. do you think that we would have a process would that change the way that the united nations is discussing this issue and would that increase the possibility for the reform?
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>> let me pick up that challenge of what would be worse in the world. we have to realize that these treaties are not only about the countries that everybody associates with it and there are in total about 350 substances scheduled. all of the major medicines are there. this is also controlling -- it's trying to divert the
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pharmaceutical industry and the whole prescription and that is where the origins come from and it was a useful thought at the time. the situation was that also it was produced in the big plantations and at that point in time there was no such thing as illustrated production and it was all these things that had a balance to the medical uses even
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though it is not at all clear to medicines are not available but the attempt to limit to the production the production to the estimates of what is needed for medical purposes i would also want to include other types of use and the first instruments were fully focused on the whole system of export certification and estimates of requirements. it was focused on limiting the production and the system to
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somehow bring under control the international substances and i think that this is still the part that has the useful purpose and after that it went way too far into the details to adapt the criminal justice and also towards the personal views where the treaty system became far into the details and other for the countries to adopt the national legislation but yet somehow going back to the origins come up commit to that usefulness of the system to have control over the international trade of the substances and to
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try to not have the huge diversion can bring people into something that is still worth preserving. >> if you want to respond to david question about the conference of the parties. >> the question of whether interpretation -- whether it could have the effect of the treaty change is one of the questions we are going to discuss in the days to come. there's been a special in the past two years specifically on the treaty interpretation and also looking at that question to
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what extent if it is going among the parties and if there is full agreement among the parties it can have a smaller effect as an amendment basically and then the question is why then not just make an amendment because it is required for full consensus and if you get it that far but everyone agrees to interpret the treaties that it is no problem under the treaty regime that is a consensus that is as difficult to find and to renegotiate and take cannabis out of the system.
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that's different. but i do agree that there are certain margins where interpretive statements of groups of countries can help at least gradually evolved the implementation of the treaties but i think that the prerequisite is that it needs to be precise so that the starting point is not -- the treaties do not allow this and from there you can start to question and then start to look at what interpretation is possible but from the acknowledgment that there is an interpretation in violation of some of the
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positions and then one of the other areas where we can argue the legal contradictions with the conference treaties with the human rights treaty regime they've done it quite effectively with the conflict that has the traditional companies that clear conflict with indigenous rights and of the traditional practices are protected. so from the legal conflict, you can also do i have this old
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argument. if it's a human rights issue it takes priority over everything now is. if i can start with the question that has been answered very well the only thing i would like to add to that is the fact that times and countries change and we have a situation now from what we had when the treaties were and we have to deal with that change in the context of a multilateral system that is good in many parts but tends to
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become onerous in some areas because the situation has changed. if you look at the way this developed historically meant they were not the first drug trafficking cartels in the world. the first was the british empire but the times changed and that the same became an enforcer of the same way if you want the international regime where there is something like the rule of law in most of the areas that's when you have a treaty system.
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making the commitment is easier than breaking it. if individual countries can break it down either relate generally speaking the weight of all the others will come down against that country because everybody draws some benefit from this multilateral system and individual countries. and to go out the majority is always trying to bring them back into the sanctions and keep them out into the system by and large works. as martin explained the whole thing about the regulation is what is behind the convention and at the treaty system. now if you talk about changing the holding have to make one other concession as well to deal
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with the reality is that why on earth do we have a completely different regime for dealing with the other substances that alcohol and tobacco and were we to start with a blank sheet of paper i would suggest that we put them into the same controlled regime. we have to deal with the limits of the possible and they are within that treaty system to find the areas of flexibility. whether we can gain something by having confidences of the parties in a very unfortunate appropriation that we use in the un, these conferences are parties and the question about
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whether something more can be achieved i think what can be achieved is we should be able to move forward in the debates to the regular conferences and parties. the problem is with the difficult of the drug conventions, the 1988 convention there is no monitoring mechanism for it. it's the career in the sense that it doesn't have one. i think martin pointed that out earlier. but there isn't a monitoring mechanism so you could get one. you could probably get one for the 1971 convention that there isn't a monitoring mechanism, so there is no evaluation mechanism and that brings me to the last point about the change in the
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treaty law and what would happen if they made a series that are not necessarily were not necessarily into conformity with the single convention. this is a big problem in the international negotiation and the problem stems from a distinction between making the international law between the hardball and soft law which is the expression of statement of intent and adopted by the resolution of the general assembly. we have a peculiar problem
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worldwide. there is a moratorium created by the general assembly that asks the states to not use it accept in the most severe cases and encourage the state to move into the system in which they abolish it's not in the status of the treaty so whatever the general assembly may adopt that there is the other problem i spent so much of my career facing and i put it on the table because there is a predicament created in which when you see the states members in any meeting adopting
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the resolution of writing or agreeing on something and you because you happen to know the situation see that that contradicts something that they agreed to last week you are then in the predicament of being a secretary at and that is not being attacked is to make a passive or doing what the member states to you to do and beyond the point you can't do it so the member states frequently in the un system adopt declarations that contradict what they may have agreed to a week before because very often they don't know what they are doing. then you end up with a messy reality on the ground of
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statements that frequently contradict each other and if one sat down and looked at it one would come up with a long list of points they contradict each other so it's messy on the ground. a gentle man in the yellow tie. the woman a couple of rows behind him and the gentle man in a cowboy hat. >> i'm from the assembly in washington, d.c. and i'm going to violate the rule about asking questions and make to remarks. i've been asking this question about the legalization of colorado and washington and have
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many petals pedals around town and this is the first panel that addressed the question. usually it was only state law versus federal law and they would say we don't know much about international law so we believe the question aside. the question has been answered and i acknowledge for organizing this. second i would like to thank the panelists. it is problematic in relation to these treaties and i think that it's a very important debate to have so thank you to brookings and the panelists and i hope to hear from some of the administration to see what their opinions are.
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>> from the department of political affairs in new york, i think that in the this scenario of incremental adaptation and updating of the regime as opposed to starting again from scratch an important piece of the puzzle sounds to me like it is rescheduling cannabis for example and we know that the who has a rule in that regard and a committee that forward-looking additions to the decision-making body but we also know i think and this is where you can fill us in this has happened in the past they've already attempted to recommend that it be rescheduled in a lower and less stringent schedule and for
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various reasoni hope you can tell us a ttle bit about i don't think it is even reached that recommendation. so, what do you think is different today if that were to happen and could that happen again and if it did what is different today? is that a viable mechanism for the regime adaptation that we are discussing? >> we will close the questions and then go back to the panel. ..
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now, this causes a little confusion on the part of countries, particularly small island states were the ones produced bananas and exported to the united kingdom and to europe. but because of the w.h.o. ruling we lost because of the pressures, et cetera, long story. but our growers found a crop that's economic, it became economic to grow marijuana, to suit the trade, the demand the united states of america. we have not been able to find a substitute to marijuana, it is
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doing very well and making big money off of it, and no substitute of marijuana has been suggested or recommended. so the question is one of supply, one of demand, one of economics, one of the perceptions that if in the united states you cannot control the growing of marijuana in certain states, and, in fact, some states have rules on marijuana, the confusion arises as to the topic international impact of u.s. trade comes into focus. and final question is, how do you define recreational marijuana? a lot of people all over the world, thank you. >> if we have no further questions, we have one other -- we will get those, go back to the panelists and have concluding remarks as well. [inaudible] as a street cop, i saw the drug
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prohibition was the most destructive, dysfunctional and immoral policy since slavery and jim crow. my question for ms. sanchez, i was at the conference in costa rica last month, 300 people, even the panel, almost all in favor of not any legalization but they wanted a grand discussion, a grand debate. my question for you about mexico, is it that same sense in mexico it's time for a great debate on this issue? and also, how much support at this moment be for changing the laws? i know your president says i don't to legalize buddies open for the big debate. are his sentiments robbed the same as your other folks in the political arena? >> a question in the back. >> into very much. i'm a professor of criminal law and criminal procedure law at the university in the netherlands. i would just like to make an observation because i saw a sweeping question as the
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children just before me qualified his question. what is, what would be the problem if we got rid of the conventions today? martin already given expression to that but i would just like to add something to that. intentions, specifically in 1988 illicit drug convention is also the basis for a lot of cooperation between states and criminal cases. so that would mean if you get rid of that convention today then it would be very difficult to cooperate in criminal cases between countries in a lot of instances, not in all instances because might be other treaties available come but if there are not many would be very hard to criminally cooperate in criminal cases. so that something i think we should keep in mind, specifically because it's not only about cannabis.
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thank you. >> return to the panel. >> can't remember, i'm trying to take the questions in reverse order of the gentlemen the phone, at least i will try, if i understand what you're saying, the position of the united states is not empowered under its constitution to comment or states to either enact or enforce federal law on the one hand but on the other hand, the united states is growing a broad string of marijuana fields in such such as -- explosive, i mean, before if what you're saying is there some moral hypocrisy on the part of the united states, you are correct. i understand your point. i would only add there is something of a resource scarcity question in play and i don't say that because i think of a different, it doesn't change my point at all but united states is watching colorado and washington but it's not that they can, do their states. it would be political debacle to
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enforce federal statutes in washington and colorado which on the face describe their activity in which washington and colorado law now authorized. so it's not quite a subtle thing as things we can do nothing, that sort of almost proved too much. it would be put politically untenable, for the fbi to convert the u.s. attorneys offices in the states any successor states into the soul clearinghouse for marijuana enforcement. i understand your point. i agree with it. this one was directed at you, lisa. >> on tv a response to both questions. the united states acknowledge and people who acknowledge they face competition between domestic policies and domestic decisions, and decisions be made at the international level. the u.s. continues to publish --
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that represent a threat to domestic u.s. drug policy because of the production of illicit drugs or illicit cultivation. that is evidently not neutral and that comes with auto mechanisms, most bilateral mechanisms that force to pursue punitive policies or join, or continue like fighting the war on drugs. one of the most again represented examples of his foreign policy views is still committed to fight the war on drugs is federal courts that are likely exported to many countries in latin america. this has continued the trend of criminalizing drug users and continue the trend of making, for example, treatment and obligation in the drug issue continues to be built with the judicial and criminal side of
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the state rather than from a public health perspective. that is not neutral and it's very harmful. on the question of how is public support in mexico and is that defense of the general public and the government that we need to have a debate? yes. public debate has been growing in mexico, particularly because the preliminary result from colorado's legalization, and the armageddon didn't arrive as most of our politicians claim that it would happen. so public support is growing. also it's very fair to say latin americans are very conservative and the role of the catholic church continues to be definitive in shaping public opinion, particularly in regards to youth. in so that's one of the main reasons why the conversation in mexico and latin america countries continues to be the
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issue of prohibition versus liberalization, because no one is necessary liberalizing drug market. we are regulating drug markets which is a different conversation. in terms of the international grow that mexico could play for the very first time, our president pinion nato told the international media in spain that even if he personally disagrees with legalization, it's not a personal supporter of the. if california votes, it's about 2016 and legalize cannabis in mexico will need to revise its own drug policy because it would be a terrible contradiction to the same substance prohibited on one side of the border and complete legal on the other side of the border. knowing that most of international, like the conversations been about international trade and illicit trafficking. that's not to say that that particular statement has not
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translated into domestic commitment of actually revising stuff. the only thing that we have, formal commitment from the maximum government is to the small trafficking laws which criminalize users. >> let me take the two points that were raised. first, eugene ask questions about w.h.o. and cannabis review. the confusion is that cannabis is scheduled on the prevention. the w.h.o. committee has never reviewed cannabis and has never done the recommendation for countries in the 61 convention. the weird situation is thc, the active ingredient, main active ingredient of cannabis is
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scheduled under the 1971 convention. that's inconsistency. it's completely absurd, but for that particular, w.h.o. expert committee has indeed already three times given a recommendation, and the whole political turmoil was if we de- schedule the active ingredient of cannabis to the lowest schedule under the 71 convention, what would that say about cannabis itself? it would show a discrepancy between the two. so that was the reason first that we need recommendations are so simply not passed on to, which is procedurally very dubious thing that happen. but this year actually the dutch government in the embassy
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pressed for finally a vote on the recommendation. they were in the end i think around -- i think 18 in favor, under the 71 convention it requires two-thirds majority vote. by far it didn't make it. this raised questions not about what would be the fate of the political vote about real cannabis recommendation for cannabis itself under the 61 convention. it looks like if it were done today it could have had similar fate as other recommendation and also be defeated even if it only requires a simple majority in the 61 rules. still i think cannabis
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developers are moving very quickly. if the review starts now then it will probably won't even be on the table before the unga. so that's all of it, too bad that a country not already have submitted earlier simple request for a review. it just requires one country that points out the fact the w.h.o. has never done a review of cannabis, and just ask them to do it. enough for the procedure to really start moving. now because we still don't know what the experts actually cited whether they are starting critical review or not, it will come out in a few weeks, but i still, i am convinced that it is useful to start a procedure
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because it is important to have w.h.o. recommendation even if it is voted down. at least we know what the formal -- the w.h.o. is given a recommendation at the window at least w.h.o. thinks about the current cannabis. only for that it is worth doing. in a few years time i think cannabis around the world will have evolved so much that there is also a good chance that actually buy them a vote may make it. one short additional comment on the other issue. apart from the hypocrisy element is also the important point that was raised, that the legal regulation scenarios are now happening, are fully based on domestic production.
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it doesn't give space to also regulate imports from where now are part of the illicit flows are coming from. and i think it would make perfect sense to start lobbying also for that. the pure import substitute model i think is for development with development arguments is the best thing to do. the same point will start no doubt as a discretion in mexico, california takes this step because now still quite a lot is coming from mexico. less and less, yeah, and actually the same debate, yeah, we are starting to also get on the table in the cases of spain and the netherlands.
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because import substitutions is not the full solution if in the case of a legally regulated market. the northern hashish is still in those two cases, for all of europe, still part of the market. it has to do with it's a better quality product, it's even healthier. there are advantages for keeping that part but it requires a form of legal regulation that also allows regulate imports from some of the other countries that are now producing for the illicit markets. we are much in favor of looking at the possibilities, also for international trades to allow that in their regulatory models. >> just a little detail on that, which is there is no longer just
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a domestic permissible domestic regulated legal market, we choose to look at all material produced abroad as part and parcel of illicit traffic that must be suppressed? 's earlier protecting a u.s. domestic market and that's obviously intentioned with more than one. >> sanpete, i i don't want to edit anything, or go to your final thought and then we'll come back down the panel. >> spent just in the trees are -- [inaudible] just to say the impact in latin america for example, on this instrument codify like her very stupid things such as translation of the instrument. later on has been very harmful impact so one of the articles of
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the '61 convention on the preamble that there's to protect the date and health of mankind was translated into the spanish version as to protect the moral and physical health of our population, which was later on translated into mexican law, for example, saying that the federation has this health control of all of this, narcotics and cycle tropics substances because these are substances that degenerate the human species. therefore, they must be prohibited and, therefore, all of the criminal justice system was bailed into fighting these substances. it's not neutral and it's evidently like a language, the letter of the spirit and interpretation of the treaty are vital for many countries to form their own domestic judicial and legal frameworks. >> martin, any closing remarks of? >> just made one or two
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sentences. to draw attention to the critical moment we are at regarding the preparations for the 2016 unga. it sounds people may be fareway but in the u.n. terms this is very true. and actually this week negotiations are starting in the third committee of the general assembly in new york with a resolution about how to organize it, and also there are already attempts in these very early states to insert language to make sure that the treaty issue cannot be part of the discussion and unga. it's critical time in that sense, and it's really i think important to at least, yeah, try to keep it open and not close the doors already in the early
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stage for the possibility to have an open on a debate in 2016. >> i would echo martin's point, the issue should be on the table, not presumptively off the table. if there's a way to glue it to the table such a can't be taken off the table, i think that's will what we should be looking to achieve. >> great. sandeep? >> i would just like to make one remark to add to what we just said, as far as the 2016 is concerned. it's crucial that countries think in terms of the fact that this is a historical opportunity. and going to the general assembly and simply undertaking another self congratulatory exercise will not be very helpful to the drug control regime. perhaps groups of countries can
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work more closely together than they can, the room and the space is certainly there at the moment. and so i'd like to end with an appeal to the sovereign countries of the world to take it seriously. because it's a little bit of space is created in these unga settings, to do something more than what diplomats abroad are empowered either countries to negotiate, then i think we might have the beginnings of progress on a debate that has been stuck and paralyzed for more than 20 years. >> it's clear that we do have an interesting time. changes that were big and by colorado washington voters in 2012 are not going to stop anytime soon. and we look forward to further
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future events on this topic to delve even deeper. i want to thank all of our panelists on behalf of my colleagues at brookings, and especially thank you, the audience, for your questions. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> a reminder if you missed any
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of this discussion you can see it again on our website c-span.org. in just under 10 minutes or so we will be taking you live to a discussion on the obama administration's isis strategy, discussion hosted by the hudson institute moderate by "the weekly standard" lee smith. there's news out this point about the u.s. response to ebola. the white house today will announce that they will appoint vice president biden's former chief of staff ron klain to spearhead the u.s. response to ebola, some are calling the ebola's are. we should hear more about that from the president. he was be speaking shortly. in fact, just a couple of minutes at the consumer ahmadinejad protection bureau here in the nation's capital. that will be live and look for that life over on c-span. also on c-span this afternoon the white house briefing, live at 1 p.m. eastern. >> the c-span cities tour takes booktv and american history tv on the road traveling to cities to learn about their history and
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literate life. this weekend we partnered with time warner cable for a visit to green bay, wisconsin,. >> wisconsin is not as america's dairyland because we make the most cheese and also the best cheese. the industry development in wisconsin what was homestead cheese for everybody made family cheese whiz own views. it was recognized that we had an ideal environment. cheese was really just a way to take that perishable product before refrigeration would last about three days. if you make cheese into it, cheddar cheese and last for a decade. this was late 1880s when the industry got started in wisconsin. are generally farmers in the neighborhoods would form a cooperative. they would build a cheese factory and they would hire a cheese baker and the cheese maker would work for the
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cooperative on shares. the cheesemakers tended to move around a lot. there were thousands of them. in the 1930s over 2000 cheese plants in wisconsin. that transportation and the road system improve, there was consolidation and that continued up until about 1990 when there only about 200 cheese factories in wisconsin. >> watch all of our event from green bay saturday at noon eastern on c-span2's booktv and sunday afternoon on american history tv on c-span3. >> c-span2 providing live coverage of the u.s. senate floor proceedings and key public policy defense. ended weekend booktv now for 15 years the only television network devoted to nonfiction books and authors. c-span2 created by the cable tv industry apparati is a public service by your local cable or satellite provider. watch us in hd, lik like us on facebook and follow us on
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twitter. >> in just a couple of minutes we'll take you to the hudson institute in washington, their discussion on the obama administration's isis strategy that's going to start at noon these turn. c-span is covering more than 100 debates for the control of congress during campaign 2014. you can find more follows on twitter at c-span and also facebook.com/cspan. plenty of debates online at c-span.org. the alaska senate race, incumbent democrat mark begich versus dan sullivan. here's a look. >> good morning to you. >> good morning. >> it was the status of this race with three weeks to go to what we know about mark begich chances of hold onto his seat? >> he had momentum early and it seems like at about early september he lost the lead and the republican dan sullivan is
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holding a small but significant lead, four points, three points, depending -- six points, depending on the poll that you look at. >> host: will be the key battlegrounds and alaska heading into the last three weeks of the campaign? where is this race going to be decided? >> guest: well, the outside money and the campaign seemed to focus quite a bit on the rail belt, anchorage, while sele, the hometown of former governor sarah palin is a conservative area that i think a lot of the energies are focused on, and labor is trying, has a very big push in the anchorage area for get out the vote. >> host: we've been trying to bring arveson the local issues that are playing in the campaign along with the national issues as well. what is pebble mines?
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>> caller: it's a proposed mine in western alaska. very large. it has groups in the area and also fishermen around the state very concerned. and in general oath parties, both candidates are trying to say the federal overreach is a bad thing. a huge thing we keep hitting in this campaign, is how i will stand against federal overreach. but begich took the unusual move, or bold move i guess, in supporting the epa in ruling against the mine. it's been called a preemptive veto because the mine hasn't actually applied for permits yet. but begich said no, i support that because this would be bad for the fisheries in western
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alaska. that might india him to some native groups and some commercial fishermen. it does look, it undermines his ability to say that i stand tough on defense because he is kind of backing the epa in this case. >> host: remind us who dan sullivan is. was his background? >> caller: he's been called the guy with the golden resume. he has an ivy league education. he worked in the bush white house. he was, worked in the state department under condoleezza rice. he's a marine reservist, he was an active duty marine, and that he's a marine reservist. he was alaska as attorney general for a brief time, and also the natural resources commission, which is as you can match a big job and alaska. one of the things that the
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begich campaign is what pushing is he's not from alaska because he came to alaska as an adult while begich is a lifelong alaskan. so that's been something that's the narrative that is then threaded throughout this campaign. >> host: one of the other key figures in alaska going into this race is alaska's other senator, lisa murkowski, a republican. here's a recent mark begich add mentioning senator murkowski. >> we have over 3000 telecommunication jobs in alaska and mark begich has fought to protect them. as ceo one of alaska's largest companies. i worked with marconi transform the economy. he has done the same thing as senator helping expand our telecom industry. i like how he works with lisa. the court one of the only states with both senators on the appropriations committee. we can't afford to lose the. i voted for lisa, now i am voting

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