Come October, Canada can expect a slew of American visitors looking to indulge in the country's newly legalized recreational marijuana. But some experts are warning that their journey may be much more complicated than it seems, especially with regards to border crossings.
The Washington Post noted that travellers could be banned from the U.S. for life just by admitting to legal recreational marijuana use. Such ban can still be imposed by customs agents despite the upcoming legal status of recreational marijuana in Canada and its current legal status in nine U.S. states.
"Though marijuana will be legal for medical or recreational use in many places on either side of the roughly 6,000-mile border — including Alaska, Maine and Vermont — the U.S. government routinely bars Canadians who admit to having used the drug from entering the country," writes Lornet Turnbull and Katie Zezima.
"And U.S. citizens who try to cross back into the United States carrying marijuana bought legally in Canada to states where it is legal to have it could be arrested at the border crossings for possession — or drug smuggling — and face stiff fines or years in jail."
Popular day trip destinations for Americans such as Niagara Falls and Windsor will likely be more closely monitored by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, upon the directive of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Such cities are common hotspots for American youth because of the lower drinking and gambling age, so visitiations are expected to surge even more once recreational marijuana is legalized.
However, some local businesses fear that the strict regulations at the border will eventually slow down the cannabis-driven tourism.
"All of the Americans are going to be welcome. Getting back, though, is going to be an issue,” says Jon Liedtke, the owner of Higher Limits Cannabis Lounge in Windsor.
The risks apply to Canadians as well. U.S. Customs and Border Protection say they can also ask Canadians whether they have used marijuana in the past, and if they say yes or refuse to answer, they can also be banned.
"CBP is always concerned about criminal activity at our U.S. borders. CBP officers are the nation’s first line of defense, including prevention of illegal importation of narcotics, including marijuana. U.S. federal law prohibits the importation of marijuana and CBP officers will continue to enforce that law."
Source: The Washington Post