Article by Bill Kaufmann, Calgary Herald
Canadian border agents seized dramatically larger amounts of pot in the months following legalization of the drug.
From October through December of last year, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) confiscated nearly 574 kilograms of cannabis products, including dried flower, resins and other concentrates, states the federal government department’s statistics.
That compares with about 283 kg of the substances taken from those crossing the border in the previous three months before the end of cannabis prohibition last Oct. 17.
In the first three months of this year, the CBSA seized just over 430 kg of cannabis products, 93 per cent of it coming from the U.S. into Canada.
With the drug’s recreational legalization last October, many travellers need to be reminded that crossing the international border with cannabis is still illegal. The agency now includes signage stating that and a request for the public to declare any of the substances they are carrying, just as they would other items, said spokeswoman Jacqueline Callin.
Those changes came into effect the day legalization kicked in.
“Although too early to identify trends, it appears this increase in the amount of cannabis intercepted at the border is, in part, the result of increased positive declarations of cannabis in response to the new primary inspection question and signage,” she said in an email statement.
“It is still illegal to import into Canada, or export from Canada, cannabis or any cannabis products without a valid permit issued by Health Canada.”
While cannabis found or declared at border crossings is seized by CBSA officials, how travellers respond to agents is crucial in whether they face criminal charges or other sanctions, said Callin.