Marijuana advocates turn to UN to fight global drug laws

Marijuana advocates turn to UN to fight global drug laws
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Marijuana advocates are pressing the United Nations to end the war on pot worldwide.

Global drug laws that criminalize pot discriminate against minorities, who are arrested at a disproportionately high rate, and lead to “serious human rights violations,” dozens of civil rights and drug reform groups say in a letter to the United Nations, released on Tuesday.

The groups, including Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union, are calling on the United Nations to address these “injustices."

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“Existing U.S. and global drug control policies that heavily emphasize criminalization of drug use, possession, production and distribution are inconsistent with international human rights standards and have contributed to serious human rights violations,” they write.

The letter comes as the United Nations convenes this week to review its drug policy.

The groups pointed to "discriminatory policing” practices that lead to the arrests of black people more often than white people for marijuana-related offenses.

In other countries, some drug offenders may even face the death penalty. 

Global drug policies have also given rise to an illegal black market, the groups say.

"Criminalization of the drug trade has dramatically enhanced the profitability of illicit drug markets, fueling the operations of groups that commit abuses, corrupt authorities, and undermine democracy and the rule of law in many parts of the world,” they write.