Cannabis Border Interceptions Decreasing
- Since 2011, interceptions of cannabis along U.S. borders have fallen 89%, reflecting the convergence of changing social, economic, and legal developments.
- The southern border continues to account for almost all the interceptions (99%), though it has also seen the steepest decline (90%) of them since 2011.
- The decrease in southern interceptions is likely attributable to a range of factors: falling demand for illicit cannabis in states with legal medical and adult use programs, less appeal for traditionally lower-quality cannabis from Mexico or other southern countries than for domestically cultivated products, and increased border enforcement efforts raising the risk of interdiction.
- Conversely, interceptions at the norther border increased 113% between 2018 and 2019, reflecting Canada’s nationwide adult-use legalization in 2018 and the appeal of its reputed high-quality cannabis.
- The data suggest that legalization is having a major disruptive effect on international cannabis smuggling operations aimed at the U.S., and underscores American consumer preference for regulated cannabis products where available and competitively priced.