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U.S. Customs and Border Protection updates statement on Canada’s legalization of cannabis



U.S. Customs and Border Protection has updated its statement on Canada’s legalization of cannabis. It now says Canadian citizens who work in the industry should “generally be admissible” as long as their trip is unrelated to the marijuana industry. This is a significant change from the previous September 21, 2018 statement that said employment in the cannabis industry “…may affect admissibility.”


What hasn’t’ changed is that if you work in the cannabis industry and are going to the U.S. on cannabis related business, you will probably remain inadmissible. In addition, if you are a Canadian working in the U.S. cannabis industry you may still be denied entry. Furthermore, if you admit to smoking or using cannabis after it becomes legal this week, you will similarly be banned.


Len Saunders, a Canadian working in Washington State as an immigration lawyer said he was surprised by the shift. His advice is to print out the new statement and carry it with them to show a border agent should the need arise. The Vancouver Province newspaper quoted Henry Chang, a partner in the cannabis practice group of Toronto law firm Blaney McMurtry, who says some uncertainties remain such as “Can you not go at all as a business visitor, can I go to a cannabis conference?” he asked. “I don’t know.” Chang also noted the statement is specific to Canadian citizens and employees, but it doesn’t mention investors in marijuana companies or Canadian permanent residents. “Logically, it should apply to them too but none of things we’ve been hearing from CBP has been logical,” he said.

Obviously this is a step in the right direction but there are still questions that haven’t been answered. But it does mean as a government employee, you can go to Disneyland but not La La Land.

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