Canada’s cannabis-growing programme has drawn the ire of the United Nations, as the Canadian government seeks to put a stop to what it calls “a blatant violation of human rights”.
A United Nations report published Monday says Canada’s program is a violation of the UN Convention Against Torture, which has been ratified by more than 100 countries.
It says Canada is guilty of torture, “gross violations of international human rights law,” and is failing to meet its obligations under the Convention.
Article Continued BelowThe report, which follows similar reports from the European Union and the U.S., comes as the United States prepares to launch its own review of its own medical cannabis programme, and Canada looks to improve its position.
Canada’s cannabis growers have been accused of destroying crops and damaging the environment, and have been fined for illegally planting.
They have also been charged with trafficking and selling drugs.
Canada has no legal restrictions on the cultivation and sale of cannabis, but a number of states have enacted restrictions.
The UN report, released Monday, says the program violates the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
“The cannabis growers in Canada are violating international human right law,” said Marisa Gao, director of the International Centre for the Study of War and Peace at the University of Ottawa.
“We see this as an opportunity to put an end to this abuse.”
Gao told The Associated Press that Canada should put a halt to the cannabis program and instead focus on the international human-rights violations.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done and that’s why this report is so important,” she said.
The report also called for Canada to ban the cultivation of cannabis and its sale, but that could take years to implement.
Canada is one of just three countries in the world that still allows the growing and cultivation of marijuana, and the program has grown steadily since legalization last year.
Gao said that while Canada is a good country to grow cannabis, “the country should take action to stop the illegal cultivation and to start the process of ending this type of abuse.”
In its report, the United Nation’s human rights office said it was “deeply concerned” by the “serious human- rights abuses” in Canada.
Canada was one of five countries it said had not yet complied with the convention.
The United Nations said Canada’s approach is “unacceptable” and should be scrapped.
“Canada’s prohibition of cannabis cultivation violates international human and labour rights obligations and has led to widespread human rights abuses and the displacement of tens of thousands of indigenous people,” it said.
“This is a serious breach of the Convention against Torture.”
It said Canada must ensure it “takes all reasonable measures to ensure that no new cases of human-impact injuries, or death related to cannabis cultivation and trafficking, occur” and that it “does not allow the growth of cannabis or the cultivation or use of cannabis for any other purpose.”
The report said that “there is a clear link between the legalization of cannabis in Canada and the rise in the number of cannabis-related injuries and deaths in Canada.”
“The illegal cannabis industry and its associated risks, including potential human rights impacts and the potential economic impact on indigenous communities, are the greatest threat to indigenous peoples and communities in Canada,” the report said.