DENVER —A United Nations-based drug agency urged the United States government on Tuesday to challenge the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado and Washington, saying the state laws violate international drug treaties.
The International Narcotics Control Board made its appeal in an annual drug report. It called on Washington, D.C., to act to “ensure full compliance with the international drug control treaties on its entire territory.”
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that he was in the last stages of reviewing the Colorado and Washington state laws. Holder said he was examining policy options and international implications of the issue. Marijuana is illegal under federal law.
The federal government could sue the states over legalization or decide not to mount a court challenge. Washington and Colorado became the first states to pass laws legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in last fall’s elections.
“The entire international system is based on countries respecting the rules, and there’s a broad fabric of international treaties that are part and parcel to that,” said David Johnson, the U.S. delegate to the Vienna-based board.