A senior United States border official said that Canadian entrepreneurs and workers who are involved in the cannabis industry could be denied entry into its borders.
This news comes a month before Canada officially launches its legal cannabis market. It will then become the first highly industrialized country to legalize recreational pot.
Todd Owen of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection told American online publication Politico that they do not recognize cannabis as a legal business and so Canadians who invest in marijuana companies or who work in the weed industry could be turned away and not allowed to set foot on U.S. soil.
While some states in the U.S. allow the use of cannabis, the drug remains illegal at federal level.
Owen also said that if anyone admitted to border officials that they have used weed in the past, or that they work in the cannabis business in Canada, they won’t be permitted to enter the U.S. Border agents routinely question travellers regarding what they do for a living.
In a statement to Postmedia News, the U.S. border agency said that as cannabis remains federally prohibited in the country, working in the legal marijuana industry or facilitating the proliferation of the industry in U.S. states where it is deemed legal or in Canada may have an impact on a foreign national’s admissibility to the U.S.
For a while now, concerns regarding the possibility of a lifetime ban from the U.S. have been plaguing Canadians who have connections to the legal cannabis industry.
British Columbia’s solicitor general, Mike Farnworth, said that he is extremely concerned that the U.S. might keep provincial government employees from crossing the American border just because they work in B.C.’s new legal cannabis branch.
With the threat of a U.S. ban, hundreds of B.C. government employees who will be working at the new public cannabis retail stores face the risk of being unable to travel to the neighboring U.S. These employees include front-line workers, ministry officials, and managers.
According to Farnworth, they have been making it clear to the Canadian federal government that the ban is a very real and serious issue and called it an unintended consequence of full cannabis legalization.
Farnworth said that they need to make sure that B.C. residents need to be educated regarding what it means to cross the American border and to understand the risks, especially considering that it is the Trump administration.
U.S. President Donald Trump is a vocal opponent of cannabis legalization.