Department of Homeland Security Modifies Border Policy – Welcomes Canadians Working in Cannabis Industry

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Yesterday, with little to no fanfare, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security made a significant amendment to its existing statement relating to Canadians crossing the border by stating that

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.

The updated statement will come as a relief to many in the industry who were concerned with the possibility of facing lifetime bans from the United States as a result of their involvement in the legal Canadian cannabis industry.

Unsurprisingly, the American government noted that importing cannabis into the United States remains illegal and the law in that regard will continue to be enforced.

The statement also notes that

Generally, any arriving alien who is determined to be a drug abuser or addict, or who is convicted of, admits having committed, or admits committing, acts which constitute the essential elements of a violation of (or an attempt or conspiracy to violate) any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance, is inadmissible to the United States.

It is unclear based on the updated statement whether Canadians who admit to having (legally) consumed cannabis will be turned away or face a ban from the United States.  It would seem illogical to permit entry to Canadians who readily admit to working in the legal cannabis industry while simultainously turning away Canadians who readily admit to consuming a legal product.

Time will tell.

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