OTTAWA – Canadians who are employed or invest in the legal cannabis industry should not anticipate any issues crossing the U.S. border, as long as the purpose of their trip has nothing to do with the marijuana industry, says the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.
In a revised policy, the American border agency has relaxed its stance on Canadians in the cannabis industry crossing the border. Canadian citizens working in the legal marijuana regime will not face issues entering the U.S. as long as they’re coming for personal, or non-work reasons.
"A Canadian citizen working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the U.S. for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the U.S. however, if a traveler is found to be coming to the U.S. for reason related to the marijuana industry, they may be deemed inadmissible," said the CBP in a statement posted to its website.
There had been uncertainty over how Canadians in the industry would be treated at the border, and whether or not their connections to the sector could prevent them from entering America. Previously Canadians had been told that anyone with connections to the cannabis industry could face a lifetime ban from the U.S.
In a prerecorded interview with Don Martin, host of CTV's Power Play, Minister of Border Security Bill Blair said that the government is grateful for the U.S. clarification.
"We always knew that if someone in Canada indicated that they were going into the United States to engage in the marijuana business that they would be prohibited from coming because it remains illegal in the United States," Blair said in the interview that will be airing at 5 p.m. EST Thursday.
Other restrictions remain in place, including that it is illegal to bring cannabis across the border and could result in being denied entry, fined, or arrested. Under U.S. federal law, possessing, producing, and distributing recreational and medical marijuana is against the law.
"Canadians have to know that if they choose to do that they could be in serious jeopardy, so we’ll have signs up, and there’ll be education materials, but we'll constantly remind Canadians that you can’t take any amount of cannabis across the border into the United States," Blair said.
The updated policy comes just under a week before recreational marijuana will be legalized across Canada, initiating a major societal shift.