At a press conference in Beijing on Monday, Liu Yuejin, deputy director of the China National Narcotics Control Commission, spoke about the drug problem in China, blaming the legalization of marijuana in the United States and Canada for the increase in drugs smuggled into the country, reported CNN.
Referring to the problem as a "new threat to China," Yuejin revealed that the number of marijuana users in the country rose 25 percent in 2018, bringing the total up to around 24,000. Furthermore, although he acknowledged that the amount of marijuana users is small compared to the total population, the increase in drugs confiscated through international mail has increased significantly.
Of the 115 packages intercepted, a total of 55 kilograms (1,940 ounces) of "cannabis and cannabis products" were seized in 2018.
Yuejin identifies the majority of suspects as younger people who have attended university in a foreign country or return to China after working abroad. While the deputy director did not reveal how many of the packages were coming from North America, he added that the majority were sent via international express delivery.
Chinese laws on marijuana possession and use are severe, with those caught with more than 50 grams (1.76 ounces) subject to the death penalty. The city has been attempting to crack down on recreational drug use in recent years and police are known to carry out sporadic drug tests at bars and nightclubs.