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International Narcotics Control Board Annual Report (2000)

The year 2000 International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) annual report criticizes Canada on a number of fronts.  However, Canadian journalist Dan Gardner, author of an extensive and critically acclaimed series on the failure of the war on drugs, argues that although the INCB is outwardly a UN organization, it is little more than a vehicle for the United States to propound its drug policy views while pretending that the views are those of the international community.  Mr. Gardner also strongly criticizes Canada's Minister of Justice for her apparent readiness to put more resources into the (failed) war on drugs in response to the INCB report.  To see Dan Gardner’s article criticizing the Minister and the INCB, click here.

                                                                                    -- Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy

Below are excerpts from the 2000 INCB report dealing with Canada.  We have highlighted relevant sections in boldface type.  To see the full report and earlier INCB annual reports, click here.   You can also see the sections of the 1999 INCB report dealing specifically with Canada by clicking here.

International Narcotics Control Board Annual Report (2000) [excerpts]

North America

Major developments

270. Cannabis remains the most common drug of
abuse in Canada, Mexico and the United States. The
spread of hydroponically grown cannabis with a high
THC content in Canada and part of the United States
continues to be a major concern to the law enforcement
agencies of those countries. The law enforcement
agencies of the United States have achieved successes
in eradicating illicit cannabis. The impact of the
cannabis eradication efforts by the law enforcement
agencies of Canada, however, has remained limited; in
some parts of the country, most illegal cannabis
growers receive little or no punishment and it has been
difficult to deter them from continuing their illicit
activity; Mexico remains a major source of cannabis.

271. In the United States, while the overall level of
cocaine abuse has remained unchanged, the rate of
cocaine abuse among adolescents declined by 14 per
cent from 1998 to 1999. Measures taken to educate
people about the harmful consequences of drug abuse
have contributed to that downward trend. Overall,
heroin abuse has declined. In Canada, while there are
no recent data on drug abuse nationwide, some surveys
are showing an increase in drug abuse among
secondary school students. Cocaine abuse in Mexico
remains at a much lower level than in Canada and the
United States, but appears to be increasing.

272. In addition to methamphetamine abuse, which
continues to be widespread and is mainly taking place
in the western parts of Canada and the United States,
MDMA (Ecstasy) of western European origin is
increasingly being abused by young people in North
America. There was a sharp increase in seizures of
MDMA (Ecstasy) in the United States in 2000.

273. The Board welcomes the fact that the
Government of Canada has now placed 44 substances
within the scope of control of the Controlled Drugs and
Substances Act. The Board trusts that similar progress
will be achieved soon in monitoring chemicals, since
there is currently no monitoring mechanism to prevent
Canadian territory from being used to divert chemicals
for the illicit manufacture of drugs in other countries.
Treaty adherence

274. All States in North America are parties to the
1961 Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the
1971 Convention and the 1988 Convention.

275. Canada, Mexico and the United States continue to
cooperate closely with each other in their efforts to
fight drug abuse and illicit trafficking.

. . .

279. Canada and the United States have continued
their close and extensive cooperation in the field of
drug control. Based on the Cross-Border Crime Forum,
established in 1997, the law enforcement agencies of
both countries have been working closely together in
the past year on establishing a mechanism for
enhancing the sharing of intelligence and developing
priorities for the joint targeting of criminal groups
involved in drug trafficking.

. . .

Cultivation, production, manufacture,
trafficking and abuse

Narcotic drugs

287. Illicit cannabis cultivation continues to be one of
the most challenging issues in the field of drug control
in all three countries in North America. In addition to
being smuggled into Canada on a large scale, cannabis
is also cultivated within the country. Annual produc-tion
of illicit cannabis in Canada appears to be around
800 tons, more than 60 per cent of which may enter the
illicit market in the United States. In the Canadian
provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec,
cannabis with a high THC content is grown indoors. In
British Columbia, illicit indoor cannabis cultivation
has become a widespread, lucrative undertaking.
Though efforts to eradicate cannabis have been made
by law enforcement agencies in Canada, the impact of
those efforts has been reduced by Canadian courts
giving lenient sentences to cannabis growers and

288. Drug trafficking continues to increase in Canada.
Besides the cannabis and cocaine smuggled into
Canada out of countries such as Mexico, there was also
an increase in the amount of heroin smuggled into
Canada. In 2000, law enforcement agencies in Canada
intercepted an illicit consignment of heroin that
weighed 156 kg, the largest seizure of heroin ever
made in the country.

289. Mexico continues to be a major source of
cannabis in North America. Cannabis seizures
increased in 2000, especially on the Pacific coast of
both Mexico and the United States. In 2000, the
number of seizures of cocaine and heroin along the
common border of Mexico and the United States
increased, as did the quantity of cocaine and heroin
seized along that border. There has been a noticeable
increase in the abuse of heroin in some Mexican cities
close to the United States border and in the abuse of
cocaine and “crack” in Mexico City. Drug abuse has
become a greater challenge to the authorities in

290. In the United States, cannabis is mainly smuggled
into the country out of Canada, Mexico and countries
in other regions; however, much of the cannabis in the
United States is illicitly grown indoors or outdoors by
commercial and small-scale operators within the
country. The intensified efforts to eradicate illicit
cannabis cultivation continued in the United States.
Seizures of cannabis in the United States were 40 per
cent higher in 1999 than in 1998. Cannabis remains the
most commonly abused drug in that country. Since
1994, there has been no significant change in the
number of cannabis abusers in the country.

291. Seizures of cocaine in the United States have
increased in the past year, probably due to enhanced
international cooperation. As it has become more
difficult to smuggle drugs into the United States by air,
South American traffickers now ship more cocaine and
heroin by sea to Central America and the Caribbean
and then smuggle the drugs into the United States by

292. In general, the abuse of cocaine in the United
States has remained at a stable level in recent years.
The decline in cocaine abuse among students in 1999
was the first decline in recent years. Heroin abuse has
continued to decrease slightly in the United States;
however, the mean age of first-time abusers of heroin
has decreased since 1995.
Psychotropic substances

293. In Canada, there are indications that the illicit
manufacture of methamphetamine has increased. Law
enforcement agencies have uncovered a record number
of clandestine laboratories in the past year. MDMA
(Ecstasy) laboratories were detected in middle-class
suburban neighbourhoods, especially in central
Canada; the laboratories were run by people with no
criminal records or connections. In some provinces, the
sharp increase in the number of deaths related to
MDMA (Ecstasy) reflects the increase in the abuse of
that substance.

294. In Mexico, the illicit manufacture of
methamphetamine continued in 2000. The level of
methamphetamine abuse is lower in Mexico than in
Canada and the United States. There has been a
significant increase in MDMA (Ecstasy) abuse in
North America. Mexican drug trafficking groups have
been involved in illicit trafficking in MDMA (Ecstasy),
exchanging cocaine from Latin America for MDMA
(Ecstasy) manufactured in Europe.

. . .

297. In North America, the spread of information by
the media on methods used to manufacture illicit drugs
continues to be a significant concern, in particular in
Canada and the United States. Messages about indoor
cannabis cultivation and the manufacture of synthetic
drugs, especially methamphetamine, are common on
some web sites.

. . .

Use of amphetamine and methylphenidate for the
treatment of attention deficit disorder

165. Methylphenidate is used in many countries in the
treatment of ADD. Amphetamine, mainly its more
potent stereoisomeric form dexamfetamine, has been
used in a much smaller number of countries for the
treatment of that disorder; however in some of those
countries, such as Australia, it has even been chosen in
preference to methylphenidate. The countries with the
highest consumption levels of stimulants (amphetamine
and methylphenidate) in 1999 were the United
States, Australia and Canada, followed by New
Zealand, Iceland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Israel,
Belgium, the United Kingdom, Norway and Germany.
In some of those countries (Canada, Norway,
Switzerland and the United Kingdom), the rate of use
of those stimulants, though it remained relatively high,
actually decreased from 1998 to 1999.

. . .

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Updated: 24 Jul 2001 | Accessed: 34477 times