Cannabis Seizures at the US-Canada Border Have Spiked 75% Since Legalization

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When
US
cops
brag
about
their
tight
border
security
and
eagle
eye
for
drug
smugglers,
the
feds
are
usually
talking
about
the
country’s
controversial
crossing
into
Mexico.
But
in
the
wake
of
Canadian
cannabis
legalization,
border
patrol
cops
are
reporting
a
significant
increase
in
weed
seizures
at
American
entry
points
throughout
the
Great
White
North’s
border.



According
to
the



Canadian
Broadcast
Company
,
US
Customs
and
Border
Patrol
(CBP)
officers
stationed
at
the
Canadian
border
confiscated
2,214
kilograms
(4,881
pounds)
of
pot
between
November
1st,
2018
and
October
31st,
2019.
In
the
same
period
of
time
between
late
2017
and
2018

before


Canada
kicked
off
legal
weed
sales


CBP
officials
tallied
only
1,259
kilos,
or
2,775
pounds
of
illicit
pot.
Compared
year
over
year,
that’s
a
75%
hike
in
seizures
since
nationwide
legalization
took
hold.

But
while
the
jump
in
confiscated
weight
may
seem
like
a
lot,
CBP
officials
made
an
effort
to
downplay
the
newly
released
stats,
pointing
at
a
relatively
modest
increase
in
the
number
of
individual
stops
that
resulted
in
a
cannabis
seizure.
In
the
year
before
legalization,
border
cops
found
weed
during
3,139
stops,
compared
to
3,917
criminal
seizures
last
year.

“Although
the
CBP
recognizes
an
increase
in
marijuana
seizures
and
incidents,
seizures
and
incidents
normally
vary
from
year
to
year,”
CBP
spokesperson
Kris
Grogan


told



CBC

For
Canadian
cannabis
experts,
the
growing
cannabis
seizure
statistics
are
a
potential
symptom
of
larger
local
issues,
including
a


bloated
black
market

and


pressure
from
local
authorities

pushing
illicit
operators
to
do
business
out
of
country.
But
at
the
same
time,
struggles
in
the
legal
market
have
left
plenty
of
room
for
underground
dealers
north
of
the
border,
adding
a
bit
of
confusion
to
the
supposed
increase
in
international
pot
trafficking.

“There’s
the
possibility
that
if
they
lose
the
Canadian
market,
that
they’ll
focus
more
effort
on
shipping
it
to
the
United
States,
places
where
it
is
still
illegal,
or
to
other
countries
for
that
matter,”
University
of
Ottawa
drug
policy
expert
Eugene
Oscapella


told



CBC
. “But
I
don’t
know
that
we’ve
been
successful
enough
in
getting
people
to
shift
to
the
Canadian
legal
market,
that
it’s
really
dented
the
profits
of
criminal
organizations
significantly
here.”

Further
muddling
the
data
and
its
implications
about
cross-border
cannabis
travel,
the
new
set
of
CBP
stats
do
not
include
how
much
marijuana
was
confiscated
in
each
seizure.
Despite
the
spike
in
the
amount
of
weed
taken,
it
is
not
clear
if
that
is
the
result
of
a
small
number
of
prolific
smugglers,
or
simply
an
increase
in


accidental
border
crossings
with
pocket-sized
stashes
of
green
contraband
.

But
no
matter
the
reason
for
the
increase
in
weed
moving
across
America’s
northern
border,
cops
on
both
sides
of
the
invisible
nation
line
urged
travelers
to
the


leave
the
weed
at
home
,
no
matter
the
legal
status
of
the
place
they’re
visiting. 

“Canadian
laws
around
travelling
with
cannabis
remain
clear
and
simple:
Don’t
take
it
in
and
don’t
take
it
out,”
Jacqueline
Callin,
spokeswoman
for
the
Canada
Border
Services
Agency
told



CBC
. “It
remains
illegal
to
bring
cannabis
and
cannabis
products
in
any
form,
including
edibles
and
any
oils
containing
THC
or
cannabidiol,
across
Canada’s
national
borders
whether
you
are
entering
or
leaving
Canada.”


Follow
Zach
Harris
on




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