Denied U.S. entry, even banned for life
Recreational use of cannabis is set to become legal this fall in Canada.
After the federal government announced its plans to legalise marijuana, many business types, former politicians and even former police rushed to set up new businesses or invest in what is expected to be a very lucrative industry.
In the rush to establish the new and burgeoning industry many of those involved are now caught up in a surprising and serious international issue. Marijuana may be legal in some U.S. states, but federally it is not. The U.S border is federally controlled and customs agents there seem to be taking a very hard line on the issue of drugs.
Many avoiding travel to U.S.
Now, anyone involved in the cannabis industry can have trouble if the want to travel to the U.S. Some executives have been turned back, some have already been banned from the U.S. for life by a U.S border agents. U.S. border agents have wide-ranging discretionary powers to turn back or even bar entrants.
Given a number of cases of trouble at the border, many business types who would normally travel to the U.S. in the course of their business activities are simply avoiding such trips and
“You would think the federal government would be able to talk to the United States government to have some sort of memorandum of understanding on this issue because you’re taking people that are engaging in perfectly legal businesses and treating them like they’re criminals” Terry Lake, former BC health minister, now cannabis exec
The U.S laws can affect anyone in Canada’s new industry ranging from workers in the various cannabis growing operations, to company executives, to investors, to executives of companies that make equipment sold to cannabis companies. One Canadian was barred from the U.S. simply because he is part owner of a Colorado building which rents space to a cannabis dispensary in Colorado (where it is legal).
A U.S immigration lawyer says he’s being inundated with calls for “waivers” to enter the U.S. coming from a variety of people involved in the cannabis industry.
A former British Columbia health minister, now turned marijuana executive, Terry Lake, is calling on the federal government to begin talks with the U.S government to resolve the issue.