The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has opened an office in Vancouver, Canada, to a chorus of complaints and protests from BC media and activists.
The DEA maintains 78 offices in 56 countries around the world?? Mexico tops the list with eight DEA offices. Most western countries have a DEA office in their capital city. Canada is now one of the few western countries with the honor of having two DEA offices.
A US embassy spokesperson told the Vancouver Sun that BC’s marijuana industry was the main reason for the Vancouver office. “You place your staff where there’s the most business to be done,” he said.
An RCMP spokesperson said they welcomed the new DEA office. “We work hand in glove with different US agencies, whether it be the US Border Patrol, DEA, FBI, all of those agencies.”
The BC Marijuana Party has sponsored an ongoing series of small protests in front of the US Consulate offices in Vancouver. Candidate John Gordon has been in attendance for many of the protests, and told Cannabis Culture that “there are lots of Americans who come and go from the Consulate. Once I explain that we’re not anti-American, many of them say they oppose the DEA and their expansion into Canada.”
A January 2001 episode of CBC investigative news program The Fifth Estate showed how the US government had put increased pressure on Canada to crack down on marijuana, including threats to shut down the border by making all Canadians register to cross, which would create massive delays and financial chaos.
Washington state’s Attorney General, Christine Gregoire, explained how in 1998 she had summoned BC’s Attorney General to her office, along with representatives from the RCMP and Vancouver Police, and given “a very clear encouragement to British Columbia, to enhance its penalties, to enhance its prosecutions, to enhance the time in which it makes those prosecutions, so that they’re much more effective.”
Also in 1998, Vancouver police had undercover agents from the US navy operating against Hemp BC and the Cannabis Caf?, trying to score pot there. The agents were unsuccessful, but did manage to “simulate” smoking their own weed.
The US Marshals Service also intends on opening a Canadian office.