Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa





Grassley Expresses Concern Over International Implications of Administration’s Drug Policy Approach

Jan 08, 2015

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Dianne Feinstein are expressing concern that the Obama Administration’s approaches on illicit drug control might damage U.S. standing worldwide and undermine U.S. international obligations.

“These approaches threaten to weaken U.S. standing as an international leader on drug control issues and may undermine the international treaties the United States and other countries have signed,” Grassley said.  “The Administration should account for remarks and policies that send a message of tolerance for illegal drugs.”

The State Department recently suggested that the United Nations conventions on drugs should be subject to a “flexible interpretation.”  This approach suggests that the United States will tolerate other countries’ drug control policies, even if they violate the conventions, Grassley said.  

This announcement follows the Justice Department’s decision to allow Colorado, Washington and other states to proceed with legalizing recreational marijuana, a step in conflict not only with federal law, but also with U.S. obligations under the conventions, which require that the production, distribution, possession or use of many illegal drugs, including marijuana, be limited to scientific and medical purposes.   

Together, these approaches threaten to weaken U.S. standing and undermine U.S. treaty obligations.  The senators wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry and Attorney General Eric Holder seeking explanations of Obama Administration policies in these areas.

Grassley and Feinstein are the leaders of the Caucus on International Narcotics Control.  Grassley is incoming chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

The senators’ letters are available here and here.