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‘Who on earth adds marijuana into maple syrup?’ Chinese consumers panic over Canadian legalization

On October 17, Canada became the largest country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana. While it’s still too soon to tell what kind of long-term impact the legalization may have on the country’s marijuana industry, the decision has already initiated a wave of panic in China, where customers are deeply concerned about getting stoned by mistakenly consuming THC-infused snacks brought from Canada.

The fear was triggered by a WeChat article (in Chinese) published on October 20 by 魔都囡 módūnān. Titled, “You can never imagine how Canada’s weed legalization will ruin millions of Chinese people’s lives!” (你绝对想不到加拿大的大麻合法化会坑掉多少中国人的一辈子!), the article first introduces weed as a kind of drug that is not as life-threatening as heroin, but is still capable of having detrimental effects on users’ brains and getting them addicted. It also warns readers that in China, weed use, possession, and cultivation are strictly illegal.

In the second part, the author, an ardent anti-pot crusader, unleashed a tirade against Canada’s marijuana legalization, making groundless accusations such as “Canadians’ minds were not in a right place when legalizing recreational marijuana,” “Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has done many wrong things,” and “It makes no sense to me that some Canadians were in a queue to purchase weed.”

Citing tourism data that suggest China is one of the largest sources of foreign visitors to Canada, the author went on alerting readers of the legal consequences stemming from accidently purchasing THC-infused snacks in Canada and bringing them home as gifts for friends. According to the author, dangerous foods include maple syrup, honey, gummy bears, chocolate bars, cookies, lollipops, ice cream, and cakes.

“Canadians’ minds are completely twisted. Who on earth adds marijuana into maple syrup? I can’t believe they just did it. Maybe for the purpose of getting higher when having food? Who knows?” the author wrote. “Okay, when you return home with these marijuana snacks. Sorry, stone-cold handcuffs are waiting for you!”

While there are some people on the Chinese internet defending the legalization, arguing that in the context of Canada, such a move can reduce criminality in the business of cannabis and help the government to impose quality controls, the overwhelming majority of internet users in China expressed deep concerns after reading the article and denounced recreational marijuana use as “fatal” and “despicable.”

“It’s none of our business that foreigners actively look for trouble,” one commenter wrote. “But bringing marijuana snacks to China should be explicitly outlawed!”

Even before the news of legalization, Canada has been drawing ire from the Chinese government for not doing enough to stem the flow of illegal cannabis to China from Canada. According to an internal federal memo leaked earlier this year, Chinese officials were “quietly grilling Canada about illicit marijuana flowing to their country, prompting Ottawa to agree to work with them on the problem.”

Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.

5 Comments

  1. DLSarks Reply

    Chinese thugs/mafia are the biggest drug smugglers and manufacture’s that import into Canada, period.
    They’re the reason fentanyl has killed so many of Canadians, not to mention meth & other chemical made hard drugs.

    Most comes from Guangdong province.

    Key search word: ‘The Vancouver method’

  2. JoeVaz Reply

    I think the writer needs to do a little more research on Cannabis. Why cannabis can have some issues on young adolescents regarding brain development, Cannabis is pretty much safe to use in moderation. Just like anything else. Hell, if you abuse food, you become obese which will kill you in the long run. Drink way to much water, you will be harmed by it.

  3. Brenda Mitchell Reply

    I really dont understand how weed is a problem but FENTANYL is just fine. FENTANYL is killing people as I write this comment but weed? How many people have suffered from weed or even lost their lives. Come on people we know the truth!

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