US-Canada border seizures jump after legalisation

Cannabis seizures at the US’ northern border have spiked after Canada legalised recreational cannabis in October 2018.

Figures from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) show American officers seized 2,214kg of weed from travellers entering the US between November 1, 2018 and October 31, 2019.

Just 1,259kg was seized over the same period year-on-year – a 75% rise

CPB spokesman Kris Grogan told Canadian broadcaster CBC the increase as more of an “uptick” than a sharp rise.

He said: “Although the CBP recognises an increase in marijuana seizures and incidents, seizures and incidents normally vary from year to year.”

University of Ottawa drug policy expert Eugene Oscapella said some people mistakenly believe that it is legal to carry weed between Canada and US states where the drug is legal.

Illicit drug dealers and growers may seek opportunities over the border as the black market dries up in Canada, he added

“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,” Oscapella said.

“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 organisations significantly here.”

In December Britain’s most senior police officer – Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick – said the UK should watch Canada’s legalisation of recreational cannabis keenly.

In an interview on BBC Radio London’s Drive Time, she said legalisation was an “interesting experiment” that merits further study.

When asked about Canada by a listener, she said: “I think it is worth looking at what is happening in Canada and parts of the United States, albeit we have to recognise culturally that is very different.