Legal pot points to woes at US border

Jeannie Matthews
September 17, 2018

Canadians will be barred from entering the United States for smoking marijuana legally, for working in Canada's legal marijuana industry and for investing in legal Canadian marijuana companies, a senior U.S. Customs and Border Protection official says.

In its report, Politico spoke with Todd Owen, executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations, who said that border officials are not planning to go out of their way to interrogate every Canadian traveller about marijuana use, but there will be factors may cause them to raise the topic. Noncitizens seeking entry can be found inadmissible for committing or admitting to either a controlled substances offense a "crime of moral turpitude", regardless of whether they were convicted, according to the act.

"If you are thinking about investing in a marijuana-related company, you should beware of the risks of investment fraud and market manipulation", the SEC said. USA officials also warn that any form of participation in the sector could likewise cause someone to be turned away, signaling potential problems for investors.

The U.S. government views foreigners working in the marijuana industry the same way they would someone working for an illegal drug cartel or as a dealer, regardless of their home nation's laws.

Canada legalized the regulated production and distribution of medical cannabis in 2,000.

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"You're going to see hundreds, if not thousands of Canadians being denied entry, and possibly barred for life at US ports of entry", he added.

He added, "At a time when public opinion and the culture around marijuana is rapidly shifting, not just in the USA but around the world, it is inane for USA border officials to maintain such a draconian and backward-looking policy".

"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. He said he has disclosed his employment each time crossing the border, and has never been turned away. "But if an agent asks the question, I suppose they could decline to answer", Lorne Waldman, an immigration lawyer, tells Bloomberg.

McLeod is calling on Ottawa to strike an arrangement with the USA government to ensure that Canadians participating in the soon-to-be-legal industry can travel freely between the two nations. This makes me wonder: was he ever in actual contact with U.S. Border Patrol officials during the legalization process?

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