World News

Border official: Canadians entering U.S. risk lifetime ban for marijuana use

Border official: Canadians entering U.S. risk lifetime ban for marijuana use

Jordan Sinclair, with Canopy Growth, a major medical marijuana supplier in Canada, told the BBC that while their employees have yet to face difficulties at the US-Canada border, the industry as a whole is seeking more clarity as to how cases will be consistently handled by border officials.

But Owen says the States will continue to act upon its federal prohibition of weed, which also applies to the border - and if you're not careful, you could face both inadmissibility and a lifetime ban from the U.S. That means treating marijuana users like criminals and those who work in the marijuana industry like drug traffickers, even if they aren't trying to bring any of the stuff into the states.

Todd Owen, executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations at Customs and Border Protection, says pot industry workers will not be recognized as a legal business.

"Our officers are not going to be asking whether they have used marijuana, but if other questions lead there-or there is the smell coming from the auto, they might ask", Owen told the online magazine Politico.

Also, marijuana residue - which can linger inside of a vehicle - could possibly be detected by inspection dogs and lead to further questioning.

And if asked about past drug use, travellers are advised not to lie.

"Facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in US states where it is deemed legal or Canada may affect an individual's admissibility to the U.S".

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According to Politico, whether or not the traveller enters the USA, a record will be kept by the border agency and that traveller will not be allowed to return to the US.

Travelers who receive lifetime bans are eligible to apply for a waiver, although it can take months to process and costs $585 to apply.

Anyone who travels to the USA regularly knows that a common question at the border is "what do you do for a living?" Likewise, investors in pot companies are considered inadmissible.

Canadian cannabis entrepreneurs and investors could face a lifetime ban from the U.S. over their involvement in the industry, USA media report. "Facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in U.S. states where it is deemed legal or Canada may affect an individual's admissibility to the USA".

Let's be clear: "these are people engaged in activity that is legal in their home country of Canada - and it is activity that is also legally regulated in a majority of USA states", NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said.

"It's going to be a real issue for employers and a much bigger issue for employees, who - if I were them - would be panic-stricken right now", said Levitt.

As Canada's new law to legalize and regulate marijuana is set to go into effect on October 17, Canadian officials are warning citizens to remain cautious when they visit the United States.


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