U.S. Federal Government Continues to Potentially Prevent Entry of Canadian Citizens

A few posts back, we discussed the ongoing tension between the United States Federal Government and Canada regarding Canadian citizens entering the United States if they were somehow connected to the cannabis industry.  On October 9, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, released a statement updating their earlier stance regarding the entry of Canadian citizens connected to the cannabis industry.

At first blush, it seems a normal press release – drug addicts and convicted felons are barred from entering the United States.  The Department also states that simply because an individual is connected with the legal marijuana industry in Canada, they will not necessarily be denied entry into the United States.  However, the last portion of this section is problematic.  It states: “If a traveler is found to be coming to the U.S. for reason related to the marijuana industry, they may be deemed inadmissible.”

Customs and Border Protection couch the statement by indicating they are simply enforcing federal law in preventing the importation of narcotics, including marijuana into the United States.  Which, if an individual is bringing marijuana into the country, is perfectly understandable under current federal law.  However, the statement as worded is vague at best.  What does “coming to the U.S. for a reason related to the marijuana industry” mean?  What if your reason for entry is to speak at a conference?  What about visiting a friend who may own a cannabis company?

At this time, there are no clear answers.  Travelers from Canada must be aware of this policy and must be aware that the language is vaguely worded and subject to various interpretations by whichever law enforcement agent they may encounter.  We urge all Canadian travelers headed to the U.S. to stay abreast of these requirements before deciding to travel to the United States if you are involved with the marijuana industry.  If and when changes occur, we’ll continue to update you all as to the Federal Government’s stance on international travel into the United States if you’re connected the cannabis industry.

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