Today’s the day! Cannabis has become legal in Canada for adult use, possession, purchase and distribution. As an important reminder, it remains illegal to take cannabis across any international border by any means, (land, water or air). The rule applies even if cannabis is legal in the destination country or state. We previously reported on how Cannabis Complicates Crossing the Border, however here are some quick tips to remember when travelling.
- Don’t bring cannabis of any form into the U.S. Cannabis still remains a controlled substance under the federal legislation which governs U.S. borders. This means that despite cannabis’ legalization in Canada, it will still be illegal to travel to any state while in possession of the drug. If you attempt to transport recreational or medicinal cannabis into the U.S. you could be fined, arrested and face state and federal charges as well as a lifetime bar to entry.
- Always tell the truth. When dealing with immigration officials, dishonesty can lead to denied entry and misrepresentation charges that can result in temporary or permanent bar on travel to the U.S. It is important to understand your right to remain silent and, if necessary, to withdraw your application for entry into the U.S.
- You can be refused entry for business travel. If you work in the cannabis industry you may be refused entry for business travel, even if you are travelling to a U.S. state where cannabis is legal, (this includes Canadian government employees).
- A pardon in Canada does not translate to the U.S. The Canadian Government has announced that they will introduce legislation to allow Canadians with simple cannabis possession convictions (30 grams or less) to qualify for a pardon. However, the U.S. does not recognize foreign pardons and therefore, you may still be refused entry into the U.S. without a waiver.
- Americans returning home from Canada may be searched. Canadians are not the only ones who need to be cautious, Americans suspected of using cannabis while in Canada may have their vehicles searched to ensure they are not bringing any home with them.
Generally speaking, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security can deny entrance to the United States for a number of related cannabis issues. Determinations about admissibility are made on a case-by-case basis based on the facts and circumstances. If you have any questions or concerns regarding cannabis and the effect legalization has on your travel, Field Law's Immigration Group is here to help.