By Hugo Alves, Matthew Kronby, George Reid for National Post. Will the legalization of marijuana in Canada depend on the votes of federal MPs or on the views of Canada’s international partners? The Post’s Tasha Kheiriddin poses the question, “Will Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise to legalize pot go up in smoke, or will he turn into an activist and try to convince other countries to liberalize their drug laws, as well?” and argues that this is “the choice he faces, if he doesn’t want Canada to run afoul of its international obligations” (‘Seeing green,’ Jan. 7). Fortunately, Canada does not need to convince the world to legalize marijuana.
The fate of Canada’s international obligations is in its own hands. Central tenets of international law include the principles of state consent, sovereign equality among states, and non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other states. States draft international treaties within this legal framework and include rules that govern how states join, amend and withdraw from treaties. Subject to limitations, international treaties also can permit states to take “reservations” to their obligations under specific provisions of a treaty when they join the treaty.