Pubdate: Mon, 29 Oct 2001
Source: Portland Press Herald (ME)
Copyright: 2001 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.
Author: Joshua L. Weinstein
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Mark Emery doesn't know much about terrorism. Marijuana is his game.

 From his headquarters in British Columbia, he sells seeds over the 
Internet. Ten seeds of Hypno - it used to be called Mindbender - go for $95 
Canadian, $76 U.S.

Having marijuana seeds shipped to the United States is risky and illegal, 
but lately, Emery has seen an increase in U.S. orders.

Marijuana users here are worried, he explains.

Worried about terrorism, yes, but worried, too, that increased border 
security will mean less marijuana will make it into this country from 
Canada, which exports high-quality cannabis, or from Mexico, which is known 
for inexpensive herb.

"Americans definitely believe that there will be a major (marijuana) 
shortage because of increased surveillance," he said. "Americans are 
ordering tons of seeds because they're scared."

But, Emery says the drugs will continue making their way into this country.

State and federal drug agents agree with him. They say that despite the 
tighter controls at the nation's borders, illegal drugs will keep coming in.

Scott Pelletier of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency says that the supply 
may drop off temporarily because so many people are paying attention to 
border security.

"It's publicized," he said, "so some of the people that may routinely do 
tractor-trailer loads are going to think twice about it."

Similarly, he says, some people who might carry small amounts of drugs 
aboard airplanes likely will stop doing that.

But he says that since Sept. 11, the price of marijuana has remained about 
the same, which means the supply hasn't been affected.

"If the prices go up, usually that indicates that there is a shortage, or 
anticipates a shortage, and right now, we don't have any intelligence that 
the prices are any different than they have been," he said.

Will Glaspy, a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, 
agrees that the supply of foreign-produced marijuana is unlikely to be 
affected by the tighter border security.

"The drug trafficking organizations are pretty resourceful," he said. 
"You're talking an awful big border."

The borders are patrolled by agents and by technology - heat detectors, 
video cameras, devices that can distinguish between creatures two-legged 
and four.

Still, Glasby said, "drug trafficking organizations are resourceful enough 
that if there's an increase in security and they think that they will be 
compromised . . . they will adjust as needed to try to get their drugs to 
their customers."

Emery explained: "When you're dealing with a 3,000-mile-long border that 
has five lakes and two oceans, it's easy to smuggle something in. You could 
put 10, 20 pounds in a kayak and kayak over. I know somebody - actually, 
they took 4 pounds - who did that."

Emery noted that the border is mountainous, remote, huge and cold.

"I haven't met anybody that says their transport people have been 
compromised," he said, explaining that professionals don't use roads or 
airplanes, but rather use trails and lakes.

"Not only would you have to be able to detect somebody walking over in the 
middle of a national forest, but you'd need someone there to apprehend 
him," he said.


Points Of Entry

There are 12 official points of entry in Maine along the Canadian border: 
Bridgewater, Calais, Coburn Gore, Fort Fairfield, Fort Kent, Hamlin/Van 
Buren, Houlton, Jackman, Limestone, Lubec, Madawaska and Vanceboro.
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