With the October 17, 2018, legalization of marijuana in Canada, many immigration issues are looming for Canadians who want to travel to the U.S. for business and pleasure. As other countries become aware of Canada's new pot laws, immigration lawyers are warning Canadians who admit to consuming marijuana legally in Canada or investing in the cannabis industry could have problems at the border, which is under United States federal jurisdiction. While marijuana is legal in several states, in the U.S. it is federally classified as an illicit and controlled substance.
- A Vancouver venture capitalist who invests in the U.S. cannabis industry was recently denied entry to the United States based on his investments.
- An Edmonton man received a lifetime ban from entering the U.S. because he was a part-owner in a Colourado building that leases space to a pot dispensary.
- Canadians who legally buy marijuana in Canada may be denied entry to the United States.
According to The Star, the U.S. State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs press officer said “admission requirements into the United States will not change due to Canada’s legalization of cannabis.”
Canada immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah advises,
Never lie at the border crossing, but instead to refuse to answer questions about marijuana use or investment. In that case, you will be denied admission to the United States on that occasion, but will not be banned for life.
Hopefully the border issues surrounding Canadians's legal use of marijuana will be resolved soon. In the mean time, if you do legally use marijuana in Canada and are traveling to the United State for business or as a tourist, I recommend:
- When crossing the Canada / U.S. border, make sure you are not carrying any marijuano or cannabis paraphenalia in your pockets or bags.
- Put passwords on your electronic devices so your photos, emails and texts cannot be read.
- Do not use a credit card to purchase marijuana, as the legal electronic sharing of data between countries could make that information available to the border agents.
What To Do If You Are Denied Entry to the U.S. by Homeland Security
Banned travelers can apply for a waiver, which lasts for one to five years if approved. If you are deemed inadmissible to enter Canada and are permanently banned from entering the United States for your legal Canadian purchase and use of marijuana, you can appeal the decision. Ackah Business Immigration Law provides comprehensive expertise in all areas of Canadian and United States immigration law. Our innovative legal practice combines professional knowledge, personal attention, and supportive advice. With knowledge and expertise, we navigate complex U.S. immigration rules and regulations to solve problems and remove obstacles, before you get to the border.