OTTAWA: Russia has denounced Canada's cannabis legalization, which took effect last week, calling it "unacceptable" and contrary to international laws, and saying it will lead to increased trafficking abroad.
"We are convinced that this legislation goes against international law on drug control," the Russian embassy in Ottawa said Monday in a statement.
According to Moscow, Canada is violating major drug control treaties including the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
"By consciously torpedoing the international drug control regime, the Canadian government is creating the world's largest drug market, which, despite all the claims and measures being contemplated to prevent the export of cannabis across national borders, will certainly result in a considerable increase in its trafficking to other states," said the Russians.
The embassy said "Russia and other countries will probably have to take additional measures to prevent possible attempts to smuggle cannabis and its derivatives from Canada.
" On October 17, Canada became the first major economy to legalize cannabis -- fulfilling a 2015 campaign promise by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which he has defended as intended to protect young people and to shut down the black market.
Richard Walker, a spokesman for its foreign ministry, told AFP that Canada remains "a strong supporter of the international drug control framework" and will continue to "combat drug trafficking".
"The legalization of cannabis does not change our commitment to meeting the overarching goals of the UN drug conventions -- protecting the health and safety or our citizens -- and Canada will continue to work with its international partners to advance these objectives," he said.