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US immigration: Marijuana vs. border agents

According to Statistics Canada, over 42 million Canadians, including many from British Columbia, made overnight or same-day trips to destinations south of the border in 2017. However, with the imminent legalization of the retail marijuana market, authorities are speculating over the problems this will pose for Canadians crossing the U.S. border. Under U.S. immigration and drug laws, it is not only users of marijuana that might risk a lifetime ban on entry into the United States but also employees of that industry and investors in the marijuana sector, which is promising to be booming from the start.

Even though the marijuana laws in some U.S. states have been eased, it remains a banned substance under federal laws. For that reason, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency will continue the application of those regulations. Canadians will be asked about current and past marijuana use, and authorities continue to advise against evasive answers because anyone caught providing false information can be banned from U.S. entry for life.

When travellers are asked about their occupations, those who earn their living as employees of marijuana businesses will be regarded as drug traffickers who are not allowed into the United States. The same will apply to anyone who is found to be investors in the pot industry. This is because the marijuana industry is not recognized as a legitimate business at the federal level in the United States.

These are only some of the challenges Canadians who have any links to the marijuana industry might face when they plan outings south of the border in the future. Anyone in British Columbia who has questions about potential problems during a border crossing might benefit from consulting with an experienced U.S. immigration lawyer. A lawyer who focuses on making such border crossings easier for British Columbia residents will be a valuable asset with up-to-date information for anyone who intends to travel — whether they expect marijuana problems or not.