This past July, a group of three cannabis industry professionals from Canada were detained and allegedly issued lifetime bans, forbidding them from entering the United States. The reason? For being associated with the newly legal cannabis industry in Canada. Their product was still in the concept phase, not even designed – and they did not work directly with the plant in any way – yet somehow, officials appear to have decided that admission of cannabis use, or association with the industry in any way, is grounds for a lifetime ban from the country.
With legalization officially going fully into effect for Canadians on October 17th, there is definitely some cause for concern for those in the industry who may want to travel to the United States. Canadian officials have chosen not to press the U.S. for a better understanding of how it will be determined that someone is associated with Canada’s legal cannabis industry and what is grounds for a lifetime ban, but at least one U.S. Congressman wants answers.
“We are concerned DHS is unnecessarily and disproportionally penalizing non-citizens who are engaged in lawful business activities,” reads a draft letter obtained by Marijuana Moment that Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) will send to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Monday.
In the letter, Correa is asking for answers to several questions by October 1st – including how the department will determine that a foreign national is associated with the cannabis industry, and how it will determine that a secondary line of questioning of those associated with cannabis is even appropriate.
This goes deeper, looking for an understanding of what types of businesses and professionals within the industry would have to undergo additional questioning before crossing the border, and what constitutes a lifetime ban.
“We strongly urge DHS to clarify admission policies and procedures at U.S. ports of entry to help ensure transparency of such processes,” Correa’s letter reads. “The role that CBP plays in processing thousands of foreign nationals who come to the United States daily to conduct business is critical not only to the success of our economy, but also the safety and security of the American people.”
Regardless of the risk of a lifetime ban, the best course of action is to always be honest during questioning when crossing the border. However, Canadians should not be denied entry to our country because our governments don’t see eye-to-eye on marijuana. As long as the laws of each country are being followed, whether the citizen is in Canada or in the U.S., there should be no reason to deny industry professionals entry to the country.