According to a senior U.S. border operations official, Canadians who work in the marijuana industry — and even those who invest in pot stocks — could face a lifetime ban on travel into the U.S., potentially labeling them as ‘drug traffickers.’
Canada’s legalization of recreational cannabis use for adults kicks in on Oct.17, and there may be no shortage of legal woes for those traveling south across the border.
“Our officers are not going to be asking everyone whether they have used marijuana, but if other questions lead there — or if there is a smell coming from the car, they might ask,” Todd Owen, executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations of Customs and Border Patrol, told POLITICO in a new report.
Cannabis residue has a habit of lingering around for weeks inside a car, Owen added, which could set off border inspection dogs, leading to further questions.
Owen suggests not lying about cannabis use.
“If you lie about it, that’s fraud and misrepresentation, which carries a lifetime ban,” he said.
The problem is, admitting to any past drug use makes you inadmissible to the United States.
Protocol says CBP would then allow you to “voluntary withdraw” from the border area or face an “expedited removal.” A record will be kept by the agency, and you will not be allowed to enter the U.S. without a 585-dollar lift of your new, lifetime ban — a months-long process.
If the law on the books isn’t adjusted to fall in line with the world’s rapidly-evolving pot policies, there could be similar woes for those simply investing in cannabis stocks.
“We don’t recognize that as a legal business,” Owen said, adding some investors from Israel have already been denied entry into the U.S.
The grounds for denial of entry are based on the questionably applicable clause which bans those who ever “obtained any financial or other benefit from the illicit activity” of trafficking in Sec. 212 of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act.