Cannabis Confiscations at Canadian Border Surge after Legal Sales Began

According to new statistics, the number of cannabis confiscations at the U.S.-Canadian border increased over 60 percent year-over-years during the first six weeks of legal cannabis sales in Canada. The uptick in confiscations, however, may be due to new policies at the border including a standard question of whether or not there is any cannabis in the car.

The Canada Border Services Agency noted a rise in confiscations, but admitted that the rise may be due to a new policy that asks people if they are bringing cannabis into the country. From Oct. 17 to Nov. 30 of 2018, the agency recorded 329 incidents of cannabis seizures or forfeitures at the Canadian border. Compared to the period of Oct. 17 to Nov. 30 of 2017, only 204 confiscations were recorded.

“Due to this focused effort, there was an increase in cannabis interdiction reporting in the postal mode during this period,” the agency said in response to questions from The Canadian Press. “Travelers, mail, courier and commercial shipments continue to be subject to the Customs Act and examined for prohibited goods, including cannabis and cannabis products.”

If a person willingly forfeits cannabis at the border, they can avoid stricter penalties if undeclared cannabis is found.

In addition to the surge of confiscations at the border, the agency also pointed out year-over-year surge in the number of cannabis mail interceptions through searches of parcels sent to Canada by mail during the six-week period. During the same period of Oct. 17- Nov. 30, 2018, the agency found 1,980 packages containing cannabis.

Crossing international borders with undeclared cannabis is illegal in any country, no matter if cannabis is legal or not. For people who find themselves in that situation, declare you cannabis to avoid potentially harsh penalties. Melissa Etheridge, for instance, made that mistake in 2017 when she was arrested for bringing cannabis across the border from North Dakota into Canada. Undeclared cannabis can result in an arrest and lengthy prosecution.

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