Tight Border a Low Note for The High Trade

  Tight Border a Low Note for The High Trade

Posted by CN Staff on July 26, 2004 at 07:23:22 PT
By The Canadian Press 
Source: Globe and Mail  

Kelowna, B.C. -- The price of B.C. bud is plunging as the United States tightens its border and more growers try to cash in on the green gold. Marijuana supplies in B.C. are outstripping demand, forcing the price of bulk sales down. A pound of pot grown in the province fetched $2,200 to $2,600 two years ago, says RCMP Corporal Ray Patelle of the E Division's drug section. Now, the price has dropped to as low as $1,500. "There's a glut in the B.C. market," Cpl. Patelle said.
"There's still just as much demand in the U.S. for this product, but there's so much pot in B.C., the price is down." Pot smugglers have been curtailed by extra security at the border since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. In some places, U.S. border patrols have tripled in number. American authorities seized 295 loads of marijuana from smugglers entering from B.C. last year, said Mike Milne, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The seizures totalled 9,286 kilograms, a 23-per-cent increase from the year before. Border officials now have machines that use X-ray technology to detect anomalies inside loads hauled by large transport trucks -- a popular way to smuggle the contraband. Inconsistencies in density lead to searches that often turn up marijuana shipments. The drop in price is likely affecting the province's economy.Assuming the traffickers use their profits to buy their goods in B.C., the province could be losing millions of dollars a year in sales tax."We get reports of people being caught all the time smuggling pot into the U.S. and bringing money back into Canada," said Cpl. Patelle. The amount of pot detected moving south from Canada has increased since 2,000 to almost 15,700 kilograms last year.But more than 20 times that amount was seized at the U.S.-Mexican border in 2003. Still, the RCMP consider the export of marijuana to the U.S., particularly from B.C., Ontario and Quebec, to be a thriving industry. Cpl. Patelle estimates thousands of grow operations are operating in the Okanagan, 700 to 900 of them in the Kelowna area alone. Note: Oversupply, extra security taking toll on the price of marijuana in B.C.Newshawk: KeganSource: Globe and Mail (Canada)Published: Monday, July 26, 2004 - Page A5 Copyright: 2004 The Globe and Mail CompanyContact: letters globeandmail.caWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links is Canadian Drug of Choice, Statscan Says's Pot Exports Overstated: RCMP

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Comment #10 posted by ron on July 27, 2004 at 08:54:25 PT
The War on Value Systems
Megacorporations from far away are directing the exploitation of BC forests with Auschwitz efficiency these days. Abetted by government, they've crushed labour as well as the forest. The few workers left who tend the mechanical "harvesters" are paid well, but aren't very proud of their employment. If you come across a "show" in the bush, you see one person doing the work that used to be done by eight. Using less than 20% of the workforce necessary in 1980, these megacorpses have almost doubled "production". The "trains" are running all the time these days. Logging trucks were hardly ever seen on the highways of Vancouver Island during the seventies. Now they're as common as SUV's.Many of the more than 80% whose jobs were rationalized took to growing cannabis to make ends meet. In BC this "weed" contributes more to the economy than our foreign controlled forest conglomerates. Senseless, mindless, shameful persecution of some people who like this small annual plant have made it more valuable than all those mighty firs and cedars - hundreds of years old. Relegalizing cannabis, currently the biggest sector of the BC economy, would have major effects. I have a Pollyanna hope it will turn out well for citizens and not the monied classPerhaps the inevitable fall in price could be offset by growers using their expertise to bring us organic vegetables year round. If the US continues to follow it's DEAth wish, we will continue to smuggle cannabis, and not just from BC. This province could hollow out logs and fill them with dozens of hockey bags full of our highest THC buds – or bubble hash. Since we signed the free trade agreement, raw logs (uncut) have become a major part of our cross border trade with the states. One log stuffed with cannabis could be worth more than the whole shipment. That should scare the antis. Right with you on education, kaptinemo. The politicians, police, press and pulpit have botched this for more than a century. It's time to give the doctors and the teachers a chance.
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Comment #9 posted by kaptinemo on July 27, 2004 at 04:56:04 PT:
The price could go even lower than that
And this is in part why antis are so scared.Even the price of weed in Amsterdam is predicated on the artificially high price STILL maintained by illegality ELSEWHERE in the world; remember, it's STILL NOT LEGAL THERE, only 'decriminalized'.So what would happen if the US, the fountainhead of all international drug laws, decided to decrim? THEN the price would fall steeply. And fall quickly, too. I would submit that the tobacco industry method of both production and distribution would then enter into play, and you could expect to pay an equivalent or slightly higher cost per unit pack.And, to return to my main point, THIS is also what scares the antis. With their brutal (and flawed) 'steel trap mind' logic, this alone would be dangerous. One of the stated goals of prohibiton was to raise the cost of illicits so that the consumer couldn't afford them. With people paying 400-500 dollars per ounce on the East Coast, we see how well that has gone. The subtleties simply escapes the anti mind. They try to use a bulldozer to do the work needed by a scalpel. With regards to their concerns that a readily available ADULT access to cannabis would lead to more kids being introduced to it, all I can offer is this:The main reason that fewer kids are starting on tobacco is a (seemingly) effective educational program. The same could be done for cannabis. And of course, there's the parental aspect to come into play, here, too. That is, in homes that haven't abdicated responsibility for raising their kids to the schools and government.Presumably the kind of homes that antis claim to have. Yet they are willing to humiliate their children by demanding they publicly urinate in front of total strangers of possibly dubious character for testing. If that isn't abdicating responsibility, I don't know what is.
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Comment #8 posted by Kegan on July 26, 2004 at 15:20:26 PT
The Thing is.......
If you legalize, the price will drop like crazy. It won't be worth the "billions" it is now.There will be the cost of growing it (hydro, rent, nutrients, etc.) Plus "Time" to grow it, with a profit margin similar to what ever crop you want to sell.Suddenly there will be people undercutting each other's prices. $200 an ounce? More like $50 and ounce....But remember, you get what you pay for.It will be tricky for the first while, but eventually I expect the price to drop to $5 a gram for bud, or $8 for hash.Just a guess.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on July 26, 2004 at 13:58:18 PT
Me? I really am not sure about what I said. I don't think very deeply about some things. I try hard to stay close to what I know. I hope that makes sense. I have a narrow thought process I guess. It's like seeing the movie F/9-11. I miss alot and will need to see it a few times until I understand it better. 
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Comment #6 posted by kaptinemo on July 26, 2004 at 13:49:31 PT:
Uh...I'm afraid you lost me there
Come again?
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on July 26, 2004 at 11:17:06 PT
Just a Note
I removed my comment because I really don't know about what will happen or won't happen. I like to know that what I say is what I know and believe. There I feel better.
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on July 26, 2004 at 09:21:36 PT:

Actually, FoM, I had something else in mind
What I was getting at was this: The BC economy would be considerably worse without the (presently, illegal) cannabis trade. The inflated price of weed is propping up much of the BC economy. When weed prices fall, for whatever reason, the result is usually more people out of work. Obviously, that's not good for them. But it presages what will happen eventually IF there are no hemp industries cranked up and ready to go just before relegalization. Yes, prices would go down, and every cannabist (save for the richest dealers) would rejoice. But the short term could be a financial problem for the province which needs that illegal cash caused by artificially inflated weed prices to prop it up now.True, keeping the price just above a commodity level artificially by taxing it would bring in revenue, but it's questionable just how much. And, as always, you have the bureacratic element injecting itself. Licenses, fees, regulations. And the bureaucracy to oversee them that will want a (you can bet) LARGE chunk of that revenue. If you thought Health Canada was a Keystone Kop when it came to growing a small patch of it in a mine, imagine what these inveterate fumblers would do to a legal national program? Case in point: HC had all those seeds and experience offered for free by people like Phillipe Lucas and Hillary Black, and the Canadian Feds turned them down in favor of paying people who didn't know what they were doing, and the result was costly, unusable weed unfit even for mulching because of high heavy metal content. That kind of profligacy with taxpayers dollars is a scandal that hasn't made much of a splash in non-cannabists circles. But it ought to.This is why I say that many pols are only too well aware of what would happen to their communities economically if Das WeedKrieg was declared over tomorrow. Like a junkie going cold turkey, it would hurt those communities and their economies. Something must be ready to replace a sizeable part of the lost under-the-table revenue, and it has to come from the product itself.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on July 26, 2004 at 08:24:30 PT

I agree with you once again! If cannabis was legal it would create all kinds of new job opportunities but most people in power don't want to even give it a second thought. 
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on July 26, 2004 at 08:16:34 PT:

We have a huge opportunity here
How? Simply this: Monitor the economic effect that the border tightening has had on the local BC economy. If the BC economy worsens sharply, with risng unemployment indicative of that, without any increase of prices of other, legal commodities, then you will have a fair estimate of JUST HOW MUCH the illegal economy props up a normally economically depressed area.The last time I was there, I couldn't help but think that much of the construction that I saw going up in Vancouver was partially fueled by the deconstruction of the weed in the bong I had.A sad way of finding out, but it would prove a point: despite public moralizing to the contrary, many local communities want to keep weed illegal solely because it's the only way they get any cash infusions into moribund economies.
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