China blames legalization of marijuana in US, Canada for increase in smuggling

China blames legalization of marijuana in US, Canada for increase in smuggling
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China's drug enforcement body on Monday blamed the legalization of marijuana in Canada and parts of the U.S. for a spike in smuggling into China, CNN reported.

Liu Yuejin, deputy director of the China National Narcotics Control Commission, said at a press conference that the number of cannabis users in the country grew by more than 25 percent in 2018, rising to about 24,000 people.

"In two years, we have found increasing cannabis trafficked from North America to China," he added, per CNN.

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Liu noted that 115 packages sent through international postal parcels, containing a total of "55 kilograms of cannabis and cannabis products," were intercepted in 2018.

Most of the suspects connected to the seized parcels were foreign students or students who had come home after working abroad, Liu reportedly said.

Anyone found with more than 50 grams of a controlled substance, including marijuana, can face the death penalty in China.

The country's restrictionist stance on marijuana contrasts with the increasingly more relaxed policies in North America.

In 2018, Canada legalized the drug nationwide, while many states in the U.S. have made purchasing and possession of the drug legal.