The advent of legal recreational marijuana in Canada hasn’t done much to stop people from trying to sneak the drug over the border — and supply shortages might be to blame, according to an internal report from the Canada Border Services Agency.
The agency’s year-end drug analysis report says officers continued to seize large quantities of dried marijuana even after Canada legalized recreational use in October.
“This is likely partly due to domestic supply shortages,” notes the intelligence assessment, obtained under access to information.
“Post-legalization marijuana volumes are rising relative to pre-legalization and 2017 figures.”
The annual report also suggests organized crime groups are exploiting the patchwork of laws across the country.
“Varying provincial regulations regarding the location, price and age of cannabis sale provide for opportunities for [organized crime group] exploitation, differing by province,” notes one section.
The carefully redacted document didn’t say where or how the contraband cannabis is entering the country but reported at least two large shipments seized at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
A spokesperson for CBSA said border smuggling has shown no signs of slowing down.
“The beginning of 2019 continues to see an increase in cannabis interdictions reporting at the border,”stated Rebecca Purdy.
“Travellers, mail, courier, and commercial shipments continue to be subject to the Customs Act and examined for prohibited goods, including cannabis and cannabis products.”
The government offered its legalization plan as a way to constrain the black market, although Liberals have said all along it wouldn’t happen overnight. The CBSA’s report highlights that.
“If supply shortages persist, marijuana imports are expected to increase,” it said.