Skip to comments."Canada is exporting to us the crack of marijuana." --JOHN WALTERS, White House drug czar
Posted on 12/22/2004 1:56:04 AM PST by Gorons
Time, August 23, 2004 v164 i8 p36 This Bud's For The U.S. Canada's relaxed drug laws may be fueling a boom in marijuana exports to America. (Society/Crime) Anita Hamilton. Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2004 Time, Inc.
Byline: Anita Hamilton Reported by Ben Bergman/Blaine, Laura Blue/New York, Chris Daniels/Toronto, Deborah
It was the bus driver who noticed something suspicious. According to school officials, a driver for Blaine High School in northwestern Washington State thought something was strange about students' carrying unusually full bags to school and then never taking them back home. He alerted U.S. authorities, who boarded the bus on the morning of Feb. 20 and allegedly found 8 lbs. of marijuana, valued at $25,000, hidden inside a teenage girl's backpack. Prosecutors allege that the minor, 16, was getting paid $300 a trip to work as a drug mule for smugglers moving marijuana into the U.S. from Canada. The teen's home, in Point Roberts, Wash., borders British Columbia in an area with relatively light border patrol, which would have made it easy for her to get the drugs from Canada before getting on the bus.
Expelled from school and charged with possessing marijuana with intent to deliver, the girl has a hearing scheduled for Aug. 23 in Bellingham, Wash. Deputy prosecutor Thomas Verge has said he will probably ask for an exceptionally long sentence that would put the teen behind bars until her 21st birthday. The controversy has upset the community. "She was a wonderful young girl," says her principal, Dan Newell. "I wouldn't have ever thought that if anyone was going to haul marijuana across the border, it would be this lady."
Nor would anyone have thought that the cross-border traffic of illegal drugs would become one of the knottiest areas of disagreement between the U.S. and its northern neighbor. An estimated 880 to 2,200 tons of marijuana are grown in Canada, according to a new report from Canadian police. About 90% of the commercial crop winds up in the U.S., where its street value ranges from $5 billion to $25 billion. Although only 5% of pot in the U.S. comes from Canada, the trade is flourishing because of high demand in the U.S. and the comparatively mild punishments in Canada for growers and traffickers.
The U.S. seized more than 48,000 lbs. of marijuana along the Canadian border last year, nearly double the 26,000 lbs. it retrieved in 2002, according to a U.S. State Department report. There have been seizures all along the border, in Montana, North Dakota, Michigan, Ohio and other states. Canadian pot has cachet in the U.S. because of its reputation for being especially potent. The featured brand is BC Bud--which is grown in British Columbia and has become synonymous with the high-grade marijuana grown throughout Canada. Once in the U.S., the pot is exchanged for cash, and sometimes cocaine or guns, which are then smuggled back to Canada.
Although the actual potency of BC Bud varies from batch to batch, depending on how it's grown, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says that as much as 25% of BC Bud is made of the psychoactive drug tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In contrast, the pot that the hippie generation smoked in the 1970s had only 2% THC content, and most pot consumed in the U.S. today averages about 7% THC.
White House drug czar John Walters blames BC Bud in part for the increased number of pot-related emergency room incidents, which have more than doubled, from 54,000 in 1996 to 119,000 in 2002. Those incidents range from accidents and injuries to unexpected reactions to the drug. "Canada is exporting to us the crack of marijuana," Walters told reporters in April. Others dispute Walters' claims. "Domestic American marijuana is probably a little bit better," says Richard Stratton, editor in chief of High Times, a magazine that covers marijuana issues. But the BC Bud name is so well regarded that some dealers pass off other varieties as Canadian to fetch the $3,000-to-$10,000-per-lb. price. And BC Bud seems to be everywhere. "It's hella easy to get," says "Angelo," 22, a Seattle resident who asked to be identified by a pseudonym. "You can usually go to [a convenience store] between 1:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. and ask people who you think smoke bud," he says.
On the Canadian side, the drug is even more ubiquitous. At the popular New Amsterdam Cafe in downtown Vancouver, customers openly smoke marijuana. "People come with pot. We are a business, though, so we have a $2 minimum cafe charge [for snacks and drinks]," says cafe manager Scott Heardy. Inspector David Nelmes, who is in charge of drugs for the Vancouver police department, tells TIME, "I can't remember the last time a member of the Vancouver police department arrested someone for smoking a joint. Frankly, who's got time?" If passed within the year, as seems likely, new Canadian legislation would decriminalize possession of less than 15 grams of marijuana, meaning that offenders would be slapped with only the equivalent of a traffic ticket. That approach is a far cry from the one that is taken in U.S. states like Oklahoma, where a person caught smoking dope could get up to a year in prison, although probation is more common.
Canada's attitude toward small-scale toking up has led some U.S. officials to blame the northerners for the influx of BC Bud in America. "If the perception is that it will be easier to get marijuana in Canada ... then it creates problems at the border," Paul Cellucci, U.S. ambassador to Canada, said at a Toronto Board of Trade dinner in February. Indeed, the trade has led to an increase in drive-by shootings in Canada by rival dealers, and to "grow-rips," in which competing clans break into growers' houses to steal their crops, according to Canadian police. The body of the suspected ringleader of a trafficking group was found stabbed in the neck in a ditch in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, in November 2002. "It's still a dangerous drug," says James Capra, the DEA's chief of domestic operations. "People are killing each other over it."
Currently, a grower in Canada who has been convicted can expect less than two years of house arrest and a trafficker anywhere from three months to five years, served either at home or in prison, compared with the minimum punishment of five to 10 years that most convicted traffickers and growers receive in U.S. federal court. But as the violence has increased and cultivation of the crop has moved into residential areas, Canada has begun cracking down on its estimated 50,000 commercial pot growers. Over the past four years, police in Vancouver have seized $288 million worth of marijuana and $8.7 million worth of growing equipment. In Barrie, Ont., in January, police confiscated 30,000 marijuana plants, worth $23 million, inside a former Molson brewery.
One hot, muggy morning in July, a TIME reporter accompanied the Vancouver police as an officer thumped on the door of a two-story brick-and-panel house on a leafy street of manicured lawns. Inside, officers discovered a basement filled wall to wall with more than 300 glossy female cannabis bushes. That bust is pretty routine, but the BC Bud keeps flowing. In the past four years, Vancouver police have made more than 1,500 others, or about one a day.
--Reported by Ben Bergman/Blaine, Laura Blue/New York, Chris Daniels/Toronto, Deborah Jones/Vancouver and Elaine Shannon/Washington
"Canada is exporting to us the crack of marijuana." --JOHN WALTERS, White House drug czar
Did you hear about Jessica's original problem with "Chicken of the Sea"? That's what the SNL sketch is taking off on.
No. I just skimmed the article real quick. Not much there worth my time.
This article is a joke. Marijuana isn't more potent, it's about the same. In fact, 2% THC marijuana is good for one thing...a killer headache. In the olden days the study of potencies only had access to Mexican ditchweed(poor mexicans growing pot in whatever little piece of exposed dirt they could find) that crossed the border. Even today, this ditchweed is good for a headache.
Today they intercept more high-grade American, Canadian, and European pot. Legalization would solve so much. It'd eradicate gangs, save money, and it would atone for reefer madness...the early-to-mid 1900's campaign that basically said all marijuana users were evil mexicans who wanted to rape your wife, mother, and little sister...it's ridiculous.
There is actually a positive correlation between the harshness of drug laws and the percentage of heroin addicts.
Iran has the highest rate of heroin addiction in the world and they've executed around 10,000 heroin traffickers over the last decade or so.
In 1996, Singapore had proportionally slightly more heroin addicts than the US. And Holland has a lower rate of heroin addiction than the US, using late 90's figures for both. These were the latest government figures I could find.
It does not mean that harsh laws cause higher rates of heroin addiction.
It means lenient laws don't necessarily lead to more of it.
It's called the ACLU/NEA, and they won't stand for it.
Actually I agree. When prohibition was passed in this country, there was an explosion of alcoholism. I'd rather see the DEA eliminated or greatly downsized and spend the money on better things. The current system certainly isn't working that well.
Don't really care if you grow enough for your friends and family too. Keep it out of the hands of kids and I'm happy.
These days, about all I bother with is a couple of beers, but to each his own.
I'm with you.
Yep. Haven't touched the stuff in 6 years.
First, the space is not "wasted". These are scumbag drug traffickers and drug dealers. Good riddance to bad garbage. Second, the statistic is for all drug offenders, not just marijuana. Third, we have 2 million people in prison (state and federal) in the U.S. 77,000 of them are drug offenders in federal prison. Let's put things in perspective here, Chicken Little.
"I'd think it would be a lot more. Got a source?"
The federal budget is about $2 trillion. The federal WOD is about $20 billion (ie., 1%).
Under the 2003 WOD budget, a number of enforcement agencies were included. This skews the "supply/demand" budget split to 2/3 - 1/3. The 2004 WOD budget transfers some of the enforcement budget to other federal agencies, resulting in a "supply/demand" budget split of about 50-50.
This restructuring (detailed in the link) also reduces the ONDCP budget from $20 billion to $12 billion. The largest reduction, $5 billion, came from the removal of 10 accounts in the DOJ, the largest of which, $3 billion, was for the incarceration of federal prisoners.
Pot legalization would not eradicate the gangs -- of all the money Americans spend on illegal recreational drugs, marijuana represents about 15%. That still leaves a huge illegal market for the gangs.
Save money? Not at the federal level. Some money would be saved at the state and local level in reduced incarceration costs. But I believe it would actually cost society money due to increased usage (health, accident, treatment, etc.).
Currently, marijuana usage is about 6% of the population over 12. It was as low as 4.7% in 1993. It was as high as 13% in 1979.
So we know that it can go pretty high even when it's illegal. Legalizing marijuana could result in use as high as 20%, half of that number under 21 years of age. Would that also increase the use of hard drugs? I would think so, especially since the gangs are now focused on nothing but.
Legalize marijuana to "atone for Reefer Madness"? Nice try.
Besides, the film has now achieved "cult" status, and is a favorite among teens. So look on the positive side.
Not like those plants wouldn't attract every teen in a ten miles radius like bees to nectar.
Well, there was an explosion of drinking, yes.
Per Capita Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages (Gallons of Pure Alcohol) 1910-1929
But that only brought the consumption level back to what it was before Prohibition (actually lower).
There is no relationship to drugs. Drug use declined when we got serious about enforcing the Controlled Substances Act.
So the decline started halfway through Jimmy Carter's term and continued falling until the WOD was elevated to cabinet level status. Since then, it's gone up. Plus the WOD has utterly failed on the supply side, assuming the goal is to reduce supply..
So we know that it can go pretty high even when it's illegal. Legalizing marijuana could result in use as high as 20%, half of that number under 21 years of age.
Not necessarily. The rates of mj use in the Netherlands is in the same ballpark as the US, maybe slightly lower.
Would that also increase the use of hard drugs? I would think so, especially since the gangs are now focused on nothing but.
Not necessarily. Using the latest government figures I could find (1999), the rate of heroin addiction in the Netherlands was about half that of the US.
You currently grow tomatoes inside? And if marijuana were legal to grow, just how many people would choose to grow it indoors? Besides you.
"I'll bet you half the kids don't know what a plant looks like."
Perhaps. Legalize the growing of marijuana and I'd bet that percentage would increase to about, oh, 100%.
If all I have to worry about is teenagers, I can deal with that ..."
Here's the problem. We'd all have to worry about the teenagers if marijuana were legalized for adult use in the home -- as they found out in Alaska. Teen use was double that of the lower 48.
Personally, I'm not willing to take the chance of teen drug use doubling in order to legalize marijuana so that some irresponsible, selfish, individualistic, immoral, hedonistic doper can smoke at home. Like they would restrict their usage to home.
They don't now.
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