The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) has announced that Canadians who work in the legal cannabis industry will generally be allowed to enter the United States.
However, cannabis industry workers will not be allowed if they are coming to the U.S. on an industry-related visit.
“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. however, if a traveler is found to be coming to the U.S. for reason related to the marijuana industry, they may be deemed inadmissible. … CBP officers are the nation’s first line of defense in preventing the illegal importation of narcotics, including marijuana. U.S. federal law prohibits the importation of marijuana and CBP officers will continue to enforce that law.” — Excerpt from CBP statement posted online
Previously, Canadians faced a lifetime ban to the U.S. if they admitted to working — whether as an entrepreneur, investor, or employee — in the cannabis space.
The CBP is a federal U.S. agency, meaning that, even in the northern border states that have legal cannabis (Washington and Maine), border patrol officers are required to act upon and enforce federal law.
“I think this is a best-case scenario,” Len Saunders, an immigration lawyer in Blaine, Washington, told Global News.
“It should make the Canadian government a lot more comfortable knowing that Canadians doing this in Canada won’t be denied entry,” said Saunders. “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.”