Cannabis Wire

Who Gets Busted at the Border for Cannabis? Frequently, US Citizens with Small Stashes

Along the US border, the line between immigration enforcement and thinly-veiled federal drug stops is becoming difficult to see.

Read the full piece in Cannabis Wire

SINCE PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP LAUNCHED his election campaign in 2015 he has repeatedly raised concerns about drugs from Mexico flowing into the United States, even going so far as to make drug smuggling a central pillar of his argument for increased border enforcement.

Yet data from federal agencies suggest that the illegal trafficking of the southern border’s most abundant narcotic—cannabis—is at its lowest point in more than a decade. In fact, border enforcement data obtained by Cannabis Wire, as well as watchdog reports, illustrate how much of the enforcement work done by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) involves petty, domestic cannabis violations—raising questions for some about whether the agency is overstepping its mandate to “safeguard America’s borders” and protect “the public from dangerous people and materials.”

Among Cannabis Wire’s findings:

  • At checkpoints, the traffic stops set up to enforce immigration law, data suggest that it’s more common for US Border Patrol agents to seize cannabis from US citizens or legal residents than from deportable immigrants.
  • At “ports of entry” into the country, including border crossings, seaports, and airports, data suggest that CBP agents confiscate cannabis from US citizens more often than from foreign nationals.

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