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Will Canada's plan to legalize weed impact WNY?

Posted at 6:37 PM, Apr 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-14 18:37:45-04

With Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing Thursday plans to legalize recreational marijuana in the country, anybody above 18 could soon be able to purchase marijuana there and that puts many WNYers just a short drive from access to legal weed.

Border Officials say they've been paying close attention to Canada's plans to legalize marijuana and say they don't expect it to cause too many problems here in the United States.

"So for us the job's not changing," Aaron Bowker, Chief Customs and Border Protection Officer for the Buffalo Field Office, explained. "Making sure the officers are aware people may be using this recreationally now legally in Canada--making sure they're aware the laws up there have changed. It's a possibility we could see an increase, but it's a law we've always been enforcing."

CBP officers enforce U.S. Federal Laws, so anybody caught trying to bring marijuana back after a visit to Canada would be subject to seizure, fines and possible arrest.

"These are things the officers are on the lookout for," Bowker said. "They are things K9 narcotic dogs pick up on. If people are using it at their home recreationally in Canada, just don't bring it across the border and don't drive under the influence."

Narcotics Chief for the Erie County Sheriff's Office said his team's approach likely won't change if the law is passed and he says the casual marijuana user isn't likely to try and sneak any back from Canada through a border crossing.

"Well I believe driving under the influence will probably increase," Alan Rozansky said. "But I would not think the borders would be a good spot to attempt to smuggle."