Michi­gan pot vote doesn’t change rules at bor­der

The Observer (Sarnia) - - FRONT PAGE - DALE CARRUTHERS

With Michi­gan soon to le­gal­ize recre­ational cannabis, South­west­ern On­tar­i­ans plan­ning to cross the bor­der to buy mar­i­juana bet­ter get schooled on the rules, or risk life-last­ing con­se­quences, warns an Amer­i­can im­mi­gra­tion lawyer.

Michi­gan will be the 10th U.S. state — and the first in the Mid­west — to le­gal­ize recre­ational pot next month, but that doesn’t mean Cana­di­ans can pop over to Port Huron or Detroit to score weed to bring home, said Blaine, Wash., lawyer Len Saun­ders Wed­nes­day. “You can­not bring cannabis from the U.S. into Canada. Pe­riod.”

Cana­dian cus­toms will seize pot from cit­i­zens try­ing to take it across the bor­der — no mat­ter what state they vis­ited — and could slap them with other penal­ties, in­clud­ing loss of their Nexus pass, Saun­ders said.

“Any­thing drug-re­lated is a life­time bar for Nexus,” he said of the Canada-U. S. ex­pe­dited bor­der con­trol pro­gram. “That’s where a lot of Cana­di­ans are go­ing to run into prob­lems.”

Canada Bor­der Ser­vices Agency con­firmed Cana­di­ans can’t bring pot home from the U.S.

“It is still il­le­gal to im­port or ex­port cannabis, or any cannabis prod­ucts, into and out of Canada with­out a valid per­mit, is­sued by Health Canada,” spokesper­son Barre Camp­bell said by email, adding of­fend­ers could face charges.

But Camp­bell didn’t say whether los­ing a Nexus pass also could be a con­se­quence, or if Cana­dian bor­der of­fi­cials would share in­for­ma­tion about pot seizures with their U.S. coun­ter­parts — an­other con­cern Saun­ders raised.

Saun­ders also cau­tioned that Cana­di­ans trav­eller who say they plan to visit a pot dis­pen­sary could be turned away at the U.S. bor­der. Even if a state has le­gal­ized pot, bor­der agents en­force fed­eral law, un­der which cannabis is a con­trolled sub­stance.

U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion (CBP) says its agents ad­mit trav­ellers on a case-by-case ba­sis.

“Aliens must over­come all grounds of in­ad­mis­si­bil­ity, in­clud­ing ad­mis­sions of past vi­o­la­tions of con­trolled sub­stance law. Pos­ses­sion and/or ad­mis­sion to the use of mar­i­juana by an alien may re­sult in the re­fusal of ad­mis­sion,” spokesper­son Stephanie Malin said by email.

Le­gal cannabis won’t be avail­able in Michi­gan un­til early 2020, as the state comes up with reg­u­la­tions and grants re­tail li­cences.

In On­tario, mean­while, prob­lems mount for its govern­ment-run on­line pot re­tailer, the On­tario Cannabis Store (OCS).

On Wed­nes­day, OCS said the per­sonal in­for­ma­tion of 4,500 cus­tomers had been breached.

Canada Post no­ti­fied OCS that de­liv­ery in­for­ma­tion from roughly two per cent of the on­line ser­vice’s clients was ac­cessed by an in­di­vid­ual via the Crown cor­po­ra­tion’s de­liv­ery track­ing tool, OSC said.

The in­for­ma­tion in­cluded postal codes, de­liv­ery dates, or­der and de­liv­ery track­ing num­bers and the names or ini­tials of peo­ple sign­ing for de­liv­er­ies, OCS said.

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