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Legalizing Marijuana in Canada Spells Longer Waits at the U.S. Border

Legalizing Marijuana in Canada Spells Longer Waits at the U.S. Border

Dina Al-Shibeeb
Cars enter lanes for Canada customs and border inspection after arriving from the United States to Surrey, British Columbia, Canada on February 16, 2017. (File image via Reuters)

Legalizing marijuana is great news for many Canadians, but it will come with a price. There will be longer waits at the border and more intensive checks. 

Global News obtained a declassified Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) document that published on Wednesday. The report warned over long waits at border crossings as officers deal with “cannabis tourists.”

Long waits are expected during the summer months as tourists head out to enjoy outdoor festivals, concerts and 4/20 cannabis events that occur every April 20, said the report.

The 7-page report, by the CBSA’s Intelligence Operations and Analysis Division, was disclosed to Global News under the Access to Information Act.

Not only that, but the report also warns over illicit exports of marijuana, which “are expected to increase” following the legalization of cannabis this summer.

Canada will be the first developed nation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and the second after Uruguay.

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Vehicles stop at customs booths while entering the United States from Windsor, Ont.  (File photo via Reuters)

Black Market to Continue

The report said the upcoming legalization will have its own fallouts including its inability to fully eliminate the black market.  

It said the black market will exceed the cultivation and potency limits set by the law, and crime groups will likely step in to fill the voids.

“In response to such limits, OC (organized crime) groups may target youth (under 18 who cannot legally purchase cannabis), lace marijuana with other substances, offer high potency product with fewer restrictions or sell synthetic cannabis to increase profits,” it said.

Another issue the report is expecting is that marijuana supply will outpace demand, luring crime groups to exploit the situation and starting exporting the surplus.   

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The report also warned that these crime groups could switch to smuggling other types of drugs such as opiates.

Despite the expected marijuana surplus, demand for hashish – more potent weed – won’t have enough supply locally, keeping illicit U.S. imports steady.

In conclusion, the report said it will have to update its agreements with partner agencies on import and export issues and train officers.

“Officers will require additional training to detect and determine intoxication levels due to suspected consumption of marijuana.”

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