China blames marijuana legalization in Canada and parts of the US for a 25 percent spike in the country’s cannabis use
- China National Narcotics Control Commission Deputy Director Liu Yuejin called marijuana legalization a ‘new threat to China’ at a press conference Monday
- Yuejin said cannabis use in China increased by more than 25 percent in 2018
- He speculated that foreign students and Chinese citizens studying or working in North America are bringing drugs into the country
- China has been tightening its drug restrictions in recent years as many countries in North America loosen theirs
Beijing’s leading drug enforcement body is blaming marijuana legalization in Canada and parts of the US for a spike in the amount of drugs being smuggled into China.
Liu Yuejin, deputy director of the China National Narcotics Control Commission, addressed the ‘new threat to China’ at a press conference in Beijing on Monday, revealing that the number of cannabis users in the country increased by more than 25 percent last year.
‘In two years, we have found increasing cannabis trafficked from North America to China,’ Liu said, according to CNN. He conceded that China has ‘few cannabis abusers’ relative to the total population.
Liu said 115 packages seized on their way into the country in 2018 contained a total of ’55 kilograms of cannabis and cannabis products’.
He speculated that most of the people connected to those packages were foreign students or students who had been working abroad, but did not specify how many came from North America.
Beijing’s leading drug enforcement body has blamed marijuana legalization in Canada and parts of the US for a spike in the amount of drugs being smuggled into China (file photo)
China imposes strict punishments on people, including foreigners, caught smuggling drugs into the country.
Possession of more than 50 grams of a controlled substance is punishable by the death penalty.
China has been tightening its drug restrictions in recent years as many countries in North America loosen theirs.
Canada became the second country in the world to fully legalize marijuana in October 2018.
In 10 US states is it legal to buy and possess marijuana, while most others have decriminalized or legalized the substance.
Liu Yuejin, deputy director of the China National Narcotics Control Commission, addressed the ‘new threat to China’ at a press conference in Beijing on Monday
While Chinese officials fight to reduce the amount of marijuana entering its borders, US officials have been trying for years to Beijing to crack down on the country’s production of fentanyl.
President Donald Trump has previously blamed China for America’s devastating opioid crisis, claiming in August 2018 that fentanyl, a deadly prescription drug 50-100 times more powerful than morphine, was ‘pouring into the US postal system’.
The Chinese government announced a crackdown on fentanyl in April in what was believed to be an attempt to de-escalate a tensions with the US.
Relations between Washington DC and China have severely deteriorated since then. In early May, President Trump accused Beijing of reneging on commitments that had brought the world’s top two economies close to a deal to end their nearly year-long trade war.
On Monday the US Trade Representative’s office held the first of seven hearings on President Trump’s plan to hit another $300billion worth of Chinese imports with 25 percent tariffs.
A broad range of US companies told a panel of trade officials from USTR, the Commerce Department and other federal agencies in Washington that they have few alternatives other than China for producing clothing, electronics, and other consumer goods.
Sourcing from other countries will raise costs, in many cases more than the 25 percent tariffs, some witnesses told the panel.