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'If You Work For The Industry, That Is Grounds For Inadmissibility,' Says US Border Official On Canadian Cannabis Legalization

As Canada moves toward it’s October 17th legalization date for recreational cannabis, it looks like the move might create more strict border relations with the country and the United States.

Those planning to work in the legal marijuana industry, as well as those who invest in it, may be risking a lifetime travel ban to the US, according to one border official.

Todd Owen, executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations told Politico that "[f]acilitating 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 US." 

As long as the substance remains illegal at the federal level in the country, the grounds for inadmissibility are outlined in Section 212 of the US Immigration and Nationality Act, which states that anyone who "is or has been an illicit trafficker in any controlled substance," or who has assisted in trafficking, or obtained financial benefit from the activity can be refused entry.

Additionally, if the traveler admits to past drug use, they will be found inadmissible to the US. Still, he said you mustn’t lie about it, since that would be “fraud and misrepresentation, which carries a lifetime ban.”

Earlier this week, Prime Minister expressed his hope that travel between countries is “not disrupted,” but offered no advice to Canadians who are asked about their cannabis consumption.  

For cannabis users who wish to travel into the country, it seems they can only hope that the question isn’t asked. On that point, Owen said that officials will not be probing into everybody’s drug history, but that "other questions lead there."

Long story short, you'll want to be prepared the next time you cross the border. Here are four things you should keep in mind.


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