Canada has been hitting all the headlines in recent days, what with the country on the brink of decriminalizing marijuana and now being questioned by Chinese government officials about illegal drug dealing.
Public Safety spokesman, Andrew Gowing, says because of the very nature of illicit drug trafficking, estimations of how frequently marijuana is sent illegally across Canadian borders are difficult to make. In a statement, Gowing said Canada works closely with international law-enforcement counterparts, including China, to combat illicit drug trafficking. The country is also co-operating with the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs. Gowing says this takes the form of shared information and the promotion of solutions to fight this global scourge.
Gowing warned that illegal pot exportation will still be regarded as a criminal offence even if Canada legalizes weed for the adult recreational market – a move expected to take place by mid-2018.
Illicit Pot Deal Statistics
While Gowing is unable to provide statistical information of illicit weed transactions between Canada and China, Statistics Canada has revealed 20% of the country’s total marijuana crop production ends up being sent illegally across the border. This amounts to about $1.2 billion. Officials from the two countries and now united their efforts to find a way in which to curb illegal weed deals.
This problem follows hot on the heels of negotiations between China and Canada concerning the illegal importation of opioids (prescription drugs) into Canada. These clandestine operations created a furore following the deaths by overdose caused by fentanyl and its related compounds.
Fentanyl and Drug Overdosing
Fentanyl is a synthetic form of heroin but is considerably more potent. Drug dealers lace heroin with fentanyl to increase potency levels and last year it was cited as the cause of more than 80% of Canada’s reported deaths by drug overdose.
A total of 1,422 died from drug overdoses in the country in 2017, of which about 81 percent involved fentanyl. Most of the victims were males between the ages of 30 and 49. This trend continued into 2018 when nine people died over a five-day period.
Fentanyl is prescribed for pain and is used, together with other opioids, for anesthesia.
Canada and China in Close Collaboration
China is supportive of international intervention to put an end to illicit drug trafficking and is working closely with Canadian federal officials to find a solution to this phenomena. However, a Chinese Embassy spokesman in Ottawa remained tight-lipped when approached for comment.
Canada’s illegal cannabis trade with China was the cause of concern revealed in a federal memo. China asked what steps the Canadian government were taking to curb illicit marijuana importation into China.
Valid information about the country’s illicit cross-border marijuana activities has been hard to come by, as pointed out in a report released by the Public Safety division. The report says details about this illegal activity were sketchy, and questions the sources used to gather of data and/or what methodology was implemented to arrive at estimates.
The RCMP has estimated that up to 80 percent of all marijuana grown in the country ends up in America. The destinations of the rest of the illegal pot trafficking trade also remain clouded.
In the meantime, the Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP are working closely with Chinese law-enforcement officials in the fight against illegal pot trafficking. According to Canadian officials, the Chinese government has adopted a hard-nosed attitude towards this global problem and is supporting international efforts to put an end to illegal cross-border marijuana activities.
As Canada prepares to become the first-ever first-world country to legalize recreational marijuana, the country is coming under increasing pressure from the Chinese government to put an end to illegal cross-border pot exportations.
Canadian officials have come out strongly in favor of moves to put an end to the global illicit drug trafficking problem and are working closely with their international law-enforcement counterparts.
Canada is losing an estimated $1.2 billion annually, or about 20 percent of its total pot production, to illicit drug deals.
Another problem that has reared its head is the illegal importation from China of opioids, particularly fentanyl, which is said to have caused more than 80 percent of the 1,422 drug overdose-related deaths recorded in the country in 2017.