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U.S. drug czar pushes Canada to get tougher on marijuana

Times Colonist, February 23, 2007

OTTAWA -- American drug czar John Walters wants Canadian officials to crack down on marijuana use, stop the export of "B.C. bud" to the U.S., and co-operate with extradition requests.

That tough approach to drugs was tempered somewhat yesterday by the director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, who thanked Canadian officials and law enforcement in Ottawa for their "outstanding co-operation" in the war against drugs.

"Today in the United States, more young people are dependent on marijuana than any other illegal drug," he said, adding, "More teens seek treatment for marijuana dependency than all other illegal drugs combined, more than alcohol."

However, Walters credited a 23 per cent drop in drug use among American teens to a variety of controversial initiatives, including random marijuana testing of high school students, a practice Liberal Senator Larry Campbell called "ethically repugnant."

Walters said the U.S. will be looking to Canada to help crack down on the international flow of drugs -- including the export of marijuana, particularly that which is grown in B.C.

People who export drugs to the U.S. from Canada "think the border will either protect them from risk of being arrested, or if they're arrested, they'll face lesser consequences than they would if they were caught in the United States," he said.

That means the country will continue asking Canada to extradite its citizens who have been charged with drug-related offences in the U.S.