Cannabis work­ers’ U.S. bor­der ban lifted

Cana­di­ans with pre-le­gal­iza­tion cannabis con­vic­tions will still be in­ad­mis­si­ble to the U.S.


Nick Hague and Alexei Ov­chinin lifted off as sched­uled from the Rus­sian-leased Baikonur cos­mod­rome in Kaza­khstan, but their Soyuz booster rocket failed about two min­utes af­ter the launch.


VAN­COU­VER—Cana­di­ans who work in the do­mes­tic cannabis in­dus­try will be al­lowed free en­try to the United States ac­cord­ing to an up­date made qui­etly on Tues­day to the U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion’s pol­icy on cannabis and the bor­der.

The up­date came with lit­tle fan­fare but it in­di­cates an enor­mous shift in a pol­icy stance that had gen­er­ated fears that thou­sands of le­gally em­ployed Cana­di­ans would be banned from the U.S. for life post-le­gal­iza­tion.

“A Cana­dian cit­i­zen work­ing in or fa­cil­i­tat­ing the pro­lif­er­a­tion of the le­gal mar­i­juana in­dus­try in Canada, com­ing to the U.S. for rea­sons un­re­lated to the mar­i­juana in­dus­try will gen­er­ally be ad­mis­si­ble to the U.S.,” the up­dated state­ment reads.

Cana­dian busi­ness­peo­ple or in­vestors with ties to the Amer­i­can cannabis in­dus­try will still risk in­ad­mis­si­bil­ity if those links are made ap­par­ent to CBP of­fi­cers. Like­wise, Cana­di­ans with crim­i­nal his­to­ries re­lated to pre-le­gal­iza­tion cannabis — or those who have ad­mit­ted past cannabis use to CBP of­fi­cers — will still be el­i­gi­ble for bor­der bans. But Blaine, Wash.-based im­mi­gra­tion lawyer Len Saun­ders said this change is an enor­mous win for Cana­di­ans.

“As Don­ald Trump would say, ‘This is huge,’” he said.

But Saun­ders cau­tioned that what may ac­tu­ally hap­pen af­ter le­gal­iza­tion is still un­known. Whether the CBP will per­form the same about­face for Cana­dian cannabis users re­mains to be seen, he said.

The pol­icy, he said, “is def­i­nitely a very, very pow­er­ful tool go­ing for­ward af­ter Oct. 17.”

The CBP’s up­date comes fol­low­ing a Septem­ber con­gres­sional let­ter — which quoted re­port­ing from StarMetro as a source — from U.S. Rep. J. Luis. Cor­rea to Sec­re­tary of Home­land Se­cu­rity Kirst­jen Nielsen re­quest­ing clar­i­fi­ca­tion of the pol­icy grounds on which Cana­dian cannabis work­ers were be­ing de­nied en­try to the U.S.

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