A Chinese narcotics official blamed the US and Canada’s liberal cannabis laws for China’s weed smuggling problem, which he claimed is primarily being smuggled through the mail.
On Monday, Liu Yuejin, the vice commissioner of the Chinese National Narcotics Control Commission, told a press conference in Beijing that authorities have intercepted an increasing number of mail packages containing cannabis. In 2018, they confiscated 115 packages that contained 1,940 ounces of weed.
“In two years, we have found increased cannabis trafficking from North America to China,” he said. According to CNN, he claimed that although more US and Canadian weed has flooded the country, China only has 24,000 cannabis users overall.
Considering China’s population of 1.4 billion people, that would mean only one-thousandth of one percent of Chinese people consume weed, according to Yuejin’s tally.
Why the big stink over North American dank? In China, hemp has always been legal, but marijuana — the cannabis that causes intoxication — is very much illegal. In fact, it's so illegal that weed traffickers can face the death penalty.
The stink may also be wafting from another noxious presence: US President Trump, and the ongoing political battles between DC and Beijing.
In 2018, Trump accused China of fueling America’s opioid crisis, as drug traffickers would often smuggle the deadly painkiller fentanyl through the postal systems. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that Chinese officials would retaliate by claiming the US is fueling China’s purportedly minuscule weed problem that only affects 0.0017 percent of its population.
Trump's accusation worked sort of worked. In April, Beijing officials announced they would crack down on fentanyl smuggling and production. That was the same month Hong Kong officials announced that US and Canadian weed was being smuggled through their postal systems, too.
Fentanyl has since been scheduled as a controlled substance in China, and Chinese agencies have banned the manufacture of at least 25 forms of the opioid altogether.
Let’s just hope the Trump administration doesn’t take a cue from Yuejin by banning state-legal weed in the US.
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