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Slowing the Tide of Imported Cannabis


  • Reported interceptions of illicit cannabis by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection nationwide have fallen from 2.53 million pounds in 2011, to 861,231 pounds in 2017: a 66% decrease.
  • The consistent declines inversely reflect increases in domestic cannabis production as more U.S. states legalize cannabis whether for medical programs, adult-use markets, or both.
  • Year-over-year patterns have persisted since 2011, with one exception which then introduced double-digit decreases (20.9% in 2014, 20.0% in 2015, 15.9% in 2016, and 33.5% in 2017).
  • The Southwest Border sectors (along Mexico) yield exponentially more of the interceptions (99.61%) than the Coastal Borders sector (specifically Miami, New Orleans, and Ramey, Puerto Rico, with 0.26%), or the Northern Borders sector (along Canada, with 0.12%).
  • Legally produced cannabis is characterized by higher quality, information about strains and testing results, and mandated quality standards which can each erode demand for illicit cannabis.