Michigan pot vote doesn’t change rules at border
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.