U.S. Customs Walks Back Ban on Canadians who Work in Cannabis Industry

Officials from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) rescinded a Sept. 21 policy that implied any Canadians who work in the country’s cannabis industry could be denied entry into the United States. Not all Canadian cannabis workers who cross the border will be denied entry, however the CBP doesn’t want them here for any cannabis-related purposes.

On Sept. 21, The CBP released a statement saying that any worker in Canada’s cannabis industry may be deemed inadmissible in the United States. Lawmakers across the board—including Rep. Lou Correa—condemned the policy as punishing Canadian citizens for something that is legal in their own country.

But on Oct. 9, The CBP released another statement saying “A Canadian citizen working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the U.S. for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the U.S..”

Although not all cannabis workers will be denied entry, the CBP added “[. . .] If a traveler is found to be coming to the U.S. for reasons related to the marijuana industry, they may be deemed inadmissible.”

The clarification followed backlash over the implications of banning legal cannabis workers from entry into the United States. “It’s a 180-degree turnaround from their statement two weeks ago,” Washington-based immigration lawyer Len Saunders told Global News. “I think this is a best-case scenario. It should make the Canadian government a lot more comfortable knowing that Canadians doing this in Canada won’t be denied entry. It still tells Canadians they can’t get involved with the U.S. cannabis industry, and a lot of these big companies will be, but at least it protects Canadians doing it legally in Canada.

Typically we normally hear about the Mexican-American border, but in 2018, and with recreational cannabis sales coming to Canada on Oct. 17, the focus has changed.

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