Canadians who work in the marijuana industry — and those who invest in the booming pot sector — risk a lifetime ban on travel to the U.S., according to a senior official overseeing U.S border operations.
As Canada prepares to become the world’s only major industrialized nation to legalize retail marijuana sales starting Oct. 17, the Canadian cannabis sector is projected to generate billions of dollars of revenue in coming years and Canadians have flocked to take jobs and buy stocks in the burgeoning industry. But the move has potential to disrupt border crossings between the U.S. and Canada for travelers who run afoul of American drug laws, even if their activities are legal in Canada.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency will continue to apply long-standing U.S. federal laws and regulations that treat marijuana as a banned substance — and participants in the cannabis industry as drug traffickers — who are inadmissible into the U.S. Although some U.S. states have eased marijuana laws, the U.S. continues to maintain a federal prohibition that applies at the border, said Todd Owen, executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations, who gave POLITICO a detailed preview of how CBP will apply longstanding rules.