Friday, 21 September, 2018

Canada cannabis entrepreneurs 'could face U.S. lifetime ban'

Canadian pot sector workers could face big troubles at the U.S. borders says analyst Regional Pot Workers Could Face Lifetime Ban From US News Centre News
Rhonda Young | 16 September, 2018, 13:23

Todd Owen, executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations, told Politico that border officials will question Canadians about their marijuana use if they have cause to do so.

Canadians caught crossing the border with marijuana in their auto will face prosecution or a fine of US$5,000. 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.

Owen told online news outlet Politico that the us will continue to enforce its prohibition come Oct 17, when recreational Cannabis becomes legal.

Canada is set to legalize recreational use of cannabis on October 17, but the drug is still illegal under U.S. Federal law.

"A lot of people don't understand that they are still going to have problems after legalization", said Henry Chang, a partner at Blaney McMurtry LLP in Toronto who handles immigration law on both sides of the border.

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Travelers who receive lifetime bans are eligible to apply for a waiver, although it can take months to process and costs $585 to apply.

He added that rather than lie at the border it is better to not respond to the questions.

Owen said that travelers are typically allowed the opportunity for a "voluntary withdraw" from a border crossing but noted records are kept whether a traveler enters the USA or not and such a traveler will not be able to return to the U.S.

Bernstein, who also expressed concern about USA profiling of people stereotyped as likely marijuana users, said the Canadian government should negotiate with the U.S.at least to secure entry for workers and investors.

A senior USA border official told news site Politico that Canadians in the burgeoning sector could be deemed inadmissible to the US. Politico says CBP did not specify any minimum level of investment that could trigger a ban.

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"We don't recognise that as a legal business", Mr Owen said.

So what to do when you want to cross the border?

But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that he does not think he has the right to press the USA on its admission policy.

"Despite one-in-eight Canadians using cannabis today, 400,000 people move between our two countries every day nearly entirely without incident", Goodale spokesman Scott Bardsley said by email.

Grant McLeod, a senior vice-president of regulatory affairs at Beleave Kannibis, has been in the US several times since entering the cannabis industry. "If you work for the industry, that is grounds for inadmissibility", Owen said. "That you are going to start seeing some problems with - especially if they buy operations or start doing business with a US company", he said.

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