China officials blame US, Canada marijuana legalization for smuggling surge

Liu Yuejin, deputy director of the China National Narcotic Control Commission, speaks during a press conference at the State Council Information Office on April 1, 2019 in Beijing, China | VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

China’s top drug enforcer believes that cannabis legalization measures in the U.S. and Canada have become a “new threat to China.”

“In two years, we have found increasing cannabis trafficked from North America to China,” Liu Yuejin, deputy director of the China National Narcotics Control Commission, said Monday at a press conference.

Liu at the press conference blamed the North American countries for the rising number of cannabis users in the country that had grown by over 25 percent in 2018, reports CNN.

According to Liu, China’s pot-smoking population has grown to 24,000 people, although he acknowledged that the number is relatively minute compared to the country’s total population.

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He presented more statistics throughout the conference, including 115 packages sent through international postal parcels, containing a total of 55 kilograms of cannabis and cannabis products intercepted in 2018.

Most of the suspects connected to the intercepted parcels were foreign students or students who had come home after working abroad, Liu notes, but he did not say how many were sent from Canada or the U.S.

The Chinese government is known for its harsh laws against cannabis, as anyone caught with the possession of more than 50 grams of any controlled substance — including marijuana — can face the death penalty in China.

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Liu’s press conference adds more division between the U.S. and China, as American officials have spent years to get China to crack down on production and distribution of fentanyl, which has been instrumental in adding to America’s opioid epidemic.

Oscar Pascual is the editor of Smell the Truth, syndicated on GreenState and SFGATE. Smell The Truth is one of the internet’s most popular destinations for cannabis-related news and culture. This blog is not written or edited by Hearst. The authors are solely responsible for the content.