US has seized more than 13,000 pounds of cannabis at US/Canada border this year

| Morton Robertson

US border authorities have seized more than 13,000 pounds (6,000+ kg) of cannabis entering the country from Canada in 2021, according to reports from US Customs and Border Protection. 

This is in addition to the more than 70,000 lbs of cannabis seized entering the US from Canada in 2020. These types of large seizures have become more common since the US and Canada closed their shared border to non-essential traffic in March 2020, due to the covid-19 pandemic.

As in 2020, the majority of the seizures this year were of dried cannabis, although one seizure was for 134 lbs (61 kg) of cannabis extract. Police estimate the value of all these products at around $20 million (US), with a fluctuating estimated “street value” of around $2-4 a gram. 

There were at least nine seizures at entry points in upstate New York, North Dakota, and Vermont, with packages of cannabis hidden in shipments of plastic bottles, phone accessories, food products, film reels, and cardboard.

On January 10 US authorities announced that they had seized 30 hockey bags in the sleeper cab of a commercial truck at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry that included 1,139 vacuum-sealed bags of suspected cannabis weighing approximately 1,281 pounds. The Peace Bridge Port of Entry is between Buffalo New York and Southern Ontario, near St Catharines. 

On January 20, US officials at the Lewiston Cargo Facility in Lewiston, New York, north of Niagara Falls seized 936 lbs (425 kg) of cannabis in a commercial shipment listed as phone accessories

On the same day, US officials at the Champlain Port of Entry Cargo Facility, discovered more than 1,545 lbs (700 kg) of cannabis in a commercial shipment manifested as used film reels.

In February, 1,070 lbs (485 kg) was seized at the Port of Buffalo, at the Lewiston Bridge, about 30 minutes north of the Peace Bridge in a commercial shipment that was manifested as cardboard.

On March 10, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, New York seized nearly 655 lbs (300kg) of cannabis in a commercial shipment of plastic bottles.

On March 18, US CBP officers at the Pembina Port of Entry about one hour south of Winnipeg seized a shipment of THC extract totaling 61 kgs (134 lbs).

On March 21, US CBP officers seized just over 7 lbs of cannabis at the Massena Port of Entry in upstate New York. The Massena Port of Entry, also called the Three Nations Crossing, passes through the Seaway International Bridge, connecting Ontario and New York, and passes through Akwesasne territory in Canada just south of Cornwall, Ontario. Akwesasne is a Mohawk Nation territory that straddles the intersection of the US and Canadian border.

In February, US authorities intercepted nearly 600 lbs (270 kgs) of Canadian-grown marijuana headed for Florida, which came through a similar region. 

On March 29, US CPB officers at the Port of Highgate Springs between Vermont and Quebec seized 1,331 lbs. (603 kg) of cannabis in a commercial shipment listed as “Food product”.

On April 23, US officials say they seized 2,796 lbs of cannabis (1268 kg) hidden inside a shipment of straw at the Pembina crossing between Manitoba and North Dakota.

On May 20, US Customs officers seized 3,765 lbs (1,707.8 kg) of cannabis at the Portal Port of Entry between North Dakota and Saskatchewan. 

The US and Canada recently extended their border closure by another month, to June 21.