U.S. Customs and Border Patrol essentially says, “We don’t care what’s legal for you,” thanks to rules and regulations surrounding the use of marijuana and travelers crossing the border from Canada who may work in the industry when the country legalizes retail marijuana sales starting on October 17.
Starting October 17, Canada will become the first major country to completely legalize retail sales of marijuana. Great for Canada! But it could spell trouble for any Canadian trying to get into the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol already has rules in place for what the States considers illegal drugs. If someone admits to using one – no matter how legal it is in their home country – they can be stopped from entering the U.S. Now, if that person lies about using the drug, they can be banned for life.
This poses a potential problem for pot smokers in Canada who wish to enter the U.S. via car.
“Our officers are not going to be asking everyone whether they have used marijuana, but if other questions lead there — or if there is a smell coming from the car, they might ask,” Todd Owen, executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations, told Politico.
Dogs at the border could even sniff out past-use residue, which would lead to questioning.
“If you lie about it, that’s fraud and misrepresentation, which carries a lifetime ban,” Owen told Politico.
As it stands, anyone admitting past use of an illegal substance (which includes pot) will be rejected for entry to the United States. Because it’s customary for border patrol agents to ask about employment, Owen tells Politico that people in the marijuana industry won’t be allowed in.
“If you work for the industry, that is grounds for inadmissibility,” he said.