"It's a direct breach of the 1961 U.N. convention on narcotic drugs," said Martin Jelsma, a Dutch scholar on drug-control laws at the Transnational Institute, a center in the Netherlands that advocates for less punitive global-drug policies.
Jelsma said nations and states "will have to find a way to reconcile" their laws with the global treaty, which has some 190 signatories. Some may choose to follow the path of Bolivia, which said in the middle of last year that it would withdraw from the convention to protest the U.N. classification of coca leaf as an illegal substance. Many indigenous people in the Andes chew coca leaf as a medicinal and social practice.
Jelsma said that if U.S. states such as Colorado and Washington could impose a regime of control on marijuana that didn't cause usage to soar, "it could mark a snowball effect on Latin America."
Among those unhappy with moves to legalize marijuana are likely to be Mexican organized-crime groups, which earn billions of dollars a year smuggling pot to the United States.According the McClatchey Newspapers story, Uruguay and Chile already have legislation pending that would legalize 'recreational drugs' and Argentina is close to doing so.