B.C. Bud Goes Cheap Here As Supply Exceeds Demand
Tighter U.S. Border Checks and an Increase in the Number of Growing
Operations Mean There's More Weed Available in B.C.
KELOWNA-- 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 Cpl. Ray Patelle of the E (B.C.) Division's drug
Now, the price has dropped to as low as $1,500.
"There's a glut in the B.C. market," 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 hampered by extra security at the border since
the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. In some places, U.S. border
patrols have tripled.
American authorities seized 295 loads of marijuana from smugglers
entering from B.C. last year, said Mike Milne, of U.S. Customs and
The seizures totalled 9,286 kilograms, a 23-per-cent increase from the
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 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 Patelle.
The amount of pot detected moving south from Canada has increased
since 2000 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 considers the export of marijuana to the U.S.,
particularly from B.C., Ontario and Quebec, to be a thriving industry.
Patelle estimates thousands of growing operations are operating in the