Residents on a remote Canadian island are distressed that US customs are opening mail to search for traces of cannabis and sometimes seizing packages.
The dilemma of geography is that for mail to move around some Canada ́s remote eastern islands, the truckers must bypass the USA. So, Canada Post, the country ́s postal agency, is now pleading with Canadian cannabis retailers and manufacturers to abstain from shipping marijuana to Campobello Island, on Canada ́s east coast.
The call is a result of a US border officers accelerating the number of Canada-originating mail trucks that they stop and search. Campobello Island, populated with roughly 1000 residents, is situated off the south of New Brunswick, one of Canada ́s remotest provinces.
The island can only be reached thought-out the year by a bridge from the Maine, a nearby American state. So all internal Canadian mail must be routed through the USA. In 2019, islanders (Canadians) say there has been a sharp uptick of their parcels being consificted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authorities. The CBP has right and allowance to detain or frisk any package passing through the United States. The seizure and inspection of mailed packages is soaring. “The community is frustrated and unhappy that their parcels delivered by Canada Post are being opened and contents scanned by US border authorities,” complaints Mr. John Williamson, who stands for the island in Canada ́s parliament. “Mail is confidential and a highly protected method to safely correspond with our doctors, therapists, lawyers etc. That the US border officers are opening envelopes is unsettling.”
Canada legalization is the cause
The island ́s postmaster, Kathleen Case, says she has always seen search and seizure of mail by US border officers especially after 9/11 attacks. This time the pace has accelerated, and Canada ́s legalization of cannabis in 2018 is suspected to be the cause.
Though recreational smoking or use of marijuana is legal in the American state of Maine, ferrying marijuana over the border is an offence. Ahead of legalization in 2018 Canada post was pro-active and planned with the US border officers to stamp a “seal” on Canada mail trucks to Campobello Island as a way of preventing mail form being frisked and opened, says Anita Anand, Canada ́s public services minister. “Vehicles are being stopped, mail searched and sometimes seized,” the minister says.
So in October last year Canada Post send letters to marijuana producers, pleading with them to stop shipments of cannabis entirely to Campobello Island. The Cannabis New Brunswick, which is the licensed retailer of marijuana which has jurisdiction over Campobello Island, says it has paused shipments in-line with Canada Post request.
However, US border searches persist. Negotiations between Canada Post and US border officers are progressing. “Our goal is to provide timely and reliable service to the residents of the island,” said Phil Legault, a Canada Post spokesperson. “While this delivery method has been in place for many years without issue, we are continuing to monitor our approach.
”The Mayor of Campobello Island, Mr. Brett Newman, says locals are saddened and want Canada government to put an end to the mail searches. “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.”He says residents wishes are to have a year-round ferry service between the island and mainland so that mail cannot be routed through America. However, Mr. Williamson the lawmaker, says Canada’s government is “tone deaf” to requests for a year-round ferry to the island. “I feel that I am being neglected by my own government and its responsibility. The only way for us to receive unimpeded access to Canadian goods and services is to have a link to Canada. We don’t have one. I don’t blame American border officers for enforcing their cannabis laws but we have been left to fend for ourselves by our own Canada government.
”Mail that is supposed to be internal and moving inside Canada being searched by US border officers is a vexing dilemma admitted Steven MacKinnon, the parliamentary secretary to Canada public services minister. “I sympathize with residents. The province must suggest solutions. As a government we will support solutions to resolve the mail searches.”
Written and Published By Ray Mwareya In Weed World Magazine Issue 146