While Canada has always been more liberal when it comes to their laws surrounding cannabis their upcoming legalization of retail adult use cannabis could start to cause some real issues at the border. In a recent statement to the news site known as Politico a senior US border official stated that “Canadians that are working or invested within the Cannabis sector could be denied entry into the US.” In fact, they could be “deemed inadmissible” banning them from crossing the border into the United States forever.
Just Another Outdated Tactic Holding on to Prohibition
In less than a month Canada is set to become the very first industrialized nation to legalize the recreational possession, cultivation, and consumption of cannabis by adults throughout their country. In the United States just south of Canada the federal government has not budged on their nearly century-old stance towards the very beneficial and nearly harmless plant. This is even though over half of the states in the United States have actually implemented comprehensive medical cannabis programs in more than a handful of states have also decided to allow adults the choice of a safer recreational alternative.
The current Canadian policy according to the Executive Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Field Operations Todd Owen “border officials on the Canadian US border are permitted to question Canadians about their cannabis use and association to the industry if they have a cause to do so.” He went on to state that “officers are not going to be asking everyone whether they have used marijuana but if other questions lay there or if there is a smell coming from the car they might ask.”
Something Legal Shouldn’t Ban You From a Country
It’s not just individuals that work within the Cannabis sector that need to worry about whether or not they will be able to enter the United States it is also those who are honest about their cannabis consumption. Despite the fact that you are a Canadian Living in Canada after the legalization of recreational Cannabis takes place if you admit to Canadian border officials that you consume cannabis legally in the country they have the right to deny you access from crossing the border into the lower 48.
In a report by the BBC which reached out to the US Customs and Border Protection Agency the CBP did validate that “working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in US states where it’s deemed legal or in Canada may affect a foreign national’s admissibility to the United States” solidifying that those working in the Cannabis sector although they are working legally could be denied access into the United States. This is simply ridiculous.
The Policy Most Likely Won’t Cause Many Issues
For many, however, this policy will most likely cause no issues as there are approximately 400,000 individuals that crossover between the two countries each day without incident even though it is widely known that a large percentage of Canadians enjoy utilizing cannabis for recreational or medical purposes. If you are a significant player in the sector however or are highly invested in the industry, you could encounter some issues just because people know that you are associated with the industry.
It Already Has Though for Some
Take for example a Vancouver businessman that was banned from crossing the border into the United States back in July only because he had made investments in US cannabis companies. He was not just banned from entering that day he was banned from entering the country for life. This is not the only case where individuals have been turned away and denied entry to the country. In fact, immigration lawyers have stated that they have heard similar accounts from clients throughout the industry.
Just Smoke a Joint Already
It’s sad that either country would waste precious resources on prohibiting cannabis professionals from moving freely between the two countries if they are not committing any crimes or participating in illegal operations. It would be like saying someone who works in a brewery in Canada couldn’t enter the United States because some states don’t allow for breweries. If you ask me everyone needs to get together and smoke a joint and get over the tensions that exist between the two countries when it comes to the topic of cannabis and embrace it once and for all.
Perhaps in the coming years, the United States will catch up to Canada, and the issue of cannabis will no longer be an issue on either side of the border.