By Bob Knudsen for The legalization of marijuana has been a hot topic in many places, and we aren’t just talking about the United States. Canada’s new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has made it very clear that he plans to do just that during his term in office, a stark contrast to his predecessor, Stephen Harper, who was a staunch prohibitionist. However, he is running into an unexpected obstacle: international treaties.

Three treaties in particular offer a major problem for Trudeau’s ambitious plan to do away with the outdated (and ill-advised from the beginning, but that’s another article) rules that govern pot use within its borders. The most binding one is the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1962, but two others, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 and The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988.

CBC reports that Trudeau received a briefing note asking how the nation will fulfill treaty obligations that legalization would seem to defy. Trudeau acknowledges the problem, and has admitted that he may need to obtain international permission to move forward with his plan.

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