US Customs seizing New Brunswick residents’ legal weed

Published on February 10, 2020 · Last updated July 28, 2020
Aran/Adobe Stock

For nine months of the year, the only way to get to Campobello Island in southern New Brunswick is through the United States, at the Lubec, Maine border crossing. Mail comes that way too, including legal cannabis—a fact residents believe has prompted US Customs and Border Protection to begin opening and seizing Campobello residents’ mail, and searching their vehicles, in what some have called a violation of Canadian sovereignty.

With residents fuming over the American intrusion, Canada Post called for LPs to stop shipping cannabis to Campobello in order to reduce the searches.

Noting that sending deliveries through Lubec, Maine, has been the delivery method of choice “for many years without issue,” Canada Post media relations officer Phil Legault said, “Our goal is to provide timely and reliable service to the residents of the island.”

Materia Ventures CEO and medical-cannabis advocate Deepak Anand pointed out a Canada Post ban would prevent patients from receiving medication. There is no Cannabis NB outlet on Campobello Island, so the some of the island’s 900 residents may also be mail-ordering adult-use products.

Recreational and medical cannabis use are both legal in Maine, but they remain federally illegal, and it is also illegal to send cannabis over the border. US Customs and Border Protection is a federal agency, and enforces federal law, including cannabis prohibition.

“Residents comment and discuss the issue daily,” Campobello Island mayor Brett Newman told BNN Bloomberg. “Packages accessed by US Customs and mail services being disrupted is not normal. The Canadian government has made very little effort to fix this problem and seems to be all right with United States doing as they wish with Canadians’ mail.”

Conservative MP John Williamson raised the issue in parliament and has called for the federal government to invest in a year-round ferry, which many residents have signed a petition to support.

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Jesse B. Staniforth
Jesse B. Staniforth
Jesse Staniforth reports on cannabis, food safety, and Indigenous issues. He is the former editor of WeedWeek Canada.
View Jesse B. Staniforth's articles
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