Individuals with connections to Canada’s nascent authorized hashish business say they’re more and more involved in regards to the prospect of a lifetime journey ban from the US.
On Thursday, a senior U.S. border official instructed the American on-line publication Politico that Canadians who put money into hashish firms or work within the business may very well be turned away on the border, even after leisure marijuana turns into authorized in Canada subsequent month.
“We do not acknowledge that as a authorized enterprise,” mentioned Todd Owen of U.S. Customs and Border Safety (CBP).
Hashish is taken into account a banned substance on the federal stage although quite a few states have legalized it.
Whereas the interview generated headlines on each side of the border, individuals within the business say the specter of a journey ban has existed for years.
“It’s a calculated threat,” mentioned Annamaria Enenajor, a legal defence lawyer and the marketing campaign director for Hashish Amnesty.
Enenajor mentioned pot customers and other people related to the business are thought of “inadmissible aliens” beneath U.S. regulation. She agreed they are often lawfully turned away on the border and banned for all times.
“They should not be stunned if that turns into the results of their actions,” Enenajor mentioned on CBC’s Metro Morning. She has not tried to enter the US since launching her hashish advocacy group.
‘I can solely inform the reality’
Grant McLeod, a senior vice-president of regulatory affairs at Beleave Kannibis, has been within the U.S. a number of instances since getting into the hashish business. His firm is one among dozens of federally licensed producers.
“Do I really feel much less assured travelling to the US than I did yesterday? I actually do,” he mentioned, simply hours earlier than boarding a flight to the U.S. for a private journey on Friday afternoon.
Final yr, McLeod took a enterprise journey to Michigan to look at harvesting gear. He mentioned he has disclosed his employment every time crossing the border, and has by no means been turned away.
“After all there’s at all times going to be a priority, however the actuality is, I can solely inform the reality,” he mentioned.
McLeod is asking on Ottawa to strike an association with the U.S. authorities to be sure that Canadians collaborating within the soon-to-be-legal business can journey freely between the 2 nations.
Will you be requested?
In his interview with Politico, Owen added that Canadians mustn’t count on cannabis-related questions as a matter of routine whereas crossing the border.
“Our officers usually are not going to be asking everybody whether or not they have used marijuana, but when different questions lead there — or if there’s a odor coming from the automotive, they may ask,” he mentioned.
Regardless of the prospect of a lifetime ban, Enenajor and McLeod are advising individuals to be truthful about their pot involvement if the difficulty comes up whereas crossing the border.
“I feel it is extremely harmful for somebody to [lie], particularly if they’re anyone who works within the business and their affiliation with the business is available on-line,” mentioned Enenajor.
She mentioned an individual discovered to have lied to a border agent will face a more durable penalty than an individual who makes use of hashish or works within the business and is truthful about it.
“The US could change their opinion on hashish sooner or later, however they are going to by no means change their place on mendacity to frame officers.”