U.S. sees uptick in amount of cannabis smuggled across the U.S.-Canada border

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Seizures of cannabis at the Canada-U.S. border showed a significant increase in the year after Canada’s federal legalization of cannabis, note new numbers released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

CBP officers confiscated 2,214 kg of cannabis from people trying to enter the U.S. between Nov. 1, 2018 and Oct. 31, 2019, compared to 1,259 kg the previous year — a roughly 75 per cent increase.

That said, the discrepancy in the number of individual seizures was much lower before and after legalization, which jumped from 3,139 to 3,917, respectively.

CBP spokesperson Kris Grogan characterized the increase is an “uptick” as opposed to a substantial escalation of incidents.

“Although the CBP recognizes an increase in marijuana seizures and incidents, seizures and incidents normally vary from year to year,” Grogan told CBC News. He cautioned, however, that bringing cannabis, infused products and related accessories and paraphernalia can lead to seizure, fines, arrest or denial of entry (for non-citizens).

Drug enforcement methods remain unchanged since legalization.

Canadians should be cognizant of the fact that it is prohibited under Canadian law to bring cannabis across the border — in or out of the country.

And while many U.S. states have legalized the drug for medical and/or adult use, it remains categorized as a Schedule I substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, meaning that it is still federally prohibited regardless of state law.

Border control is under federal jurisdiction and operates under federal law, so even if travellers are bringing cannabis from a legal state, it is prohibited by both countries.

Canadians caught by CBP risk a host of consequences, including a lifetime ban from entering the U.S.

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