WASHINGTON—A surge of high-potency marijuana illegally smuggled into the United States from Canada is fuelling a rise in drug dependency among young Americans, the Bush administration's drug czar says.
A frustrated John Walters, the director of the U.S. National Drug Control office, yesterday signalled Washington's ongoing irritation with what it sees as a lax attitude toward drug crimes north of the border, something that has forced it to redeploy drug patrols from the Mexican border to its northern flank.
Walters conceded yesterday American authorities are making no dent in the flow of Canadian pot and he said Canadian police and prosecutors have told him lenient Canadian courts are a root of the problem.
"The big new factor on the scene ... is the enormous growth of high potency marijuana from Canada," Walters said.
"This is a problem. It requires joint action and we will continue to work with Canadian government on this.
"But right now, the trend (does not show) this is getting smaller."
The Bush administration has been vocal in its concern over Canadian "grow ops," ecstasy manufacturers and a move by the past Liberal government to decriminalize marijuana possession, but Walters' message takes on a special urgency now.
The problem U.S. President George W. Bush has with drug smugglers on both his southern and northern borders is expected to be raised when he meets with Prime Minister Paul Martin and Mexican President Vicente Fox at a trilateral summit in Waco, Texas, on March 23.
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