While recreational marijuana is set to be legalized in Canada next month, the U.S. is taking a powerful stance against it. As reported by the Toronto Star, U.S. Customs and Border Protection do not plan on changing border policies following the legalization of pot in Canada.
Shockingly,for soon-to-be-legal marijuana users and investors trying to cross the border, their involvement in Canada's cannabis industry will land them a lifetime ban from the United States.
Senior U.S. Customs official, Todd Owens spoke to Politico and simply stated that America does not recognize marijuana as a legal business although nine states along with Washington D.C. do. For that reason, Canadians coming across the border who have anything to do with pot could be denied access that day and possibly forever.
U.S. Customs has proved that they're not playing around. Over the last year, Canadians with legal links to the marijuana industry, including a Vancouver businessman and a B.C. equipment manufacturer, have received lifetime bans from the country.
How exactly will these border officers know about a Canadian's pot relations? They’ll just ask. Owens stated they won’t be asking pot-related questions to every Canadian who crosses the border. However, they will be probing if they have suspicions.
Canadians do have the right to refuse officers questions. It may have them denied entry for that very day, however, it will avoid the possibility of a lifetime ban.
When it comes to marijuana investors, Owens did not clarify how much equity a Canadian has to hold in the industry in order to be denied entry. Seeing as thousands of Canadians have shares in cannabis companies, it leaves many wondering.
What does Justin Trudeau think of all this? Well, he says there’s not much he can do. “Every country has the right to judge who gets to come into their borders or not. I wouldn’t presume to have any other country tell me how or who we can let into Canada. And I certainly won’t work to assume or impress upon the U.S. who they have to let in or not,” he told the CBC.
Those with lifetime bans can successfully apply for waivers. However, the thought clearly has Canadians worried enough. Since the release of Todd Owen’s comments in Politico, shares of several cannabis companies in Canada has declined.