One barrel of oil currently costs about $50. One barrel of maple syrup, on the other hand, sells for about $1,200.
That’s because Quebec, which provides 71 percent of the world’s maple syrup, forces producers to sell to the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, a government-sanctioned, OPEC-like cartel. But the Federation’s high prices and rigid control have led to a booming black market, a multi-million dollar maple syrup heist, and accusations that Quebec is in cahoots with a “maple syrup mafia.”
VICE News travels to Quebec and talks to farmers about the Federation, including one who’s taking her fight against it to the country’s Supreme Court.
This segment originally aired April 12, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.