US border reports increased cannabis seizures in first year of legalization

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Canadian and American flags are seen at the US/Canada border March 1, 2017, in Pittsburg, New Hampshire. / AFP PHOTO / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Between
November
2018
and
October
2019
(roughly
speaking,
Canada’s
first
year
of
legalization),
US
Customs
and
Border
Patrol
(CBP)
agents

seized
2,214
kg
of
cannabis
from
travellers
bound
for
the
US
—representing
an
increase
of
roughly
75%
from
the
previous
1,259
kg
seized
the
year
before.

However,
thanks
to
major
seizures—like
the

18
kg
of
cannabis
carried
by
two
US-bound
Canadians

caught
at
the
US
customs
preclearance
area
at
Toronto’s
Pearson
International
Airport—the
volume
of
cannabis
seized
at
the
border
has
gone
up
as
the
number
of
seizures
has
also
increased
at
a
slower
rate.

Last
year,
US
CBP
seized
cannabis
on
3,917
occasions,
compared
with
3,130
the
previous
year—an
increase
of
only
25%.

US
Customs
and
Border
Patrol
isn’t
especially
concerned:
a
representative
told
the
CBC,
“Although
the
CBP
recognizes
an
increase
in
marijuana
seizures
and
incidents,
seizures
and
incidents
normally
vary
from
year
to
year.”

Previously,
the
CBP’s
Buffalo
field
office
reported

its
cannabis
seizures
spiked
190%
in
the
year
following
legalization
,
and
said
its
officers
were
stopping
Canadians
from
entering
New
York
State
with
narcotics
(often
cannabis)
on
a
daily
basis.


CBP
Officer
Aaron
Bowker
said
,
“Any
time
you
have
a
narcotic
that
is
sought
after
by
people
to
use
and
they
can
recreationally
use
it
legally
in
Canada,
they’re
going
to
try
to
bring
it
back.”
Of
the
5,200
pounds
of
prohibited
drugs
seized
at
the
border,
3,000
pounds
(58%)
were
cannabis.
It
is
unclear
how
much
of
seized
cannabis
consisted
of
CBD
products.

In
August,
a
21-year-old
Canadian
woman
was
caught
at
the
US
border
carrying
CBD
oil,
fined
$500,
fingerprinted,
barred
from
entry
to
the
US,
and

threatened
with
a
lifetime
ban
.
Without
providing
a
reason,

US
CBP
reversed
the
ban
following
several
weeks
of
public
outcry
.

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Jesse B. Staniforth's Bio Image

Jesse
B.
Staniforth

Jesse
B.
Staniforth
is
the
editor
of
the
free
cannabis-industry
newsletter
WeedWeek
Canada.
He
also
reports
on
Indigenous
issues,
cybersecurity,
and
food
safety.

 

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