Skip to main content

Breaking News: CBP Issues Memo on Canada's Legalization of Marijuana and Crossing the Border

On October 11, 2018, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a memo addressing Canada’s upcoming legalization of marijuana and how it will affect crossing the Canada/U.S. border. Marijuana will be legal in Canada beginning October 17, 2018. CBP has stated that U.S. laws will not change following Canada’s legalization of marijuana. Requirements for international travelers wishing to enter the U.S. are governed by and conducted in accordance with U.S. Federal Law, which supersedes state laws. 
While medical and recreational marijuana may be legal in some U.S. states and Canada, the sale, possession, production and distribution of marijuana or the facilitation of marijuana remain illegal under U.S. Federal Law. Consequently, crossing the border or arriving at a U.S. port of entry in violation of this law may result in denied admission, seizures, fines and apprehension. 
CBP has also given a formal answer to one of the biggest questions surrounding the upcoming legalization. CBP has stated that 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. However, if a traveler is found to be coming to the U.S. for reasons related to the marijuana industry, they may be deemed inadmissible.
Additionally, generally speaking, CBP has advised that any arriving alien who is determined to be a drug abuser or addict, or who is convicted of, admits having committed, or admits committing acts which constitute the essential elements of a violation of (or an attempt or conspiracy to violate) any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance, is inadmissible to the United States.
CBP officers are thoroughly trained on admissibility factors and the Immigration and Nationality Act, which broadly governs the admissibility of travelers into the United States. Determinations about admissibility and whether any regulatory or criminal enforcement is appropriate are made by a CBP officer based on the facts and circumstances known to the officer at the time.
This is a huge development for many individuals and companies in the marijuana industry. If you have questions on this, contact Berardi Immigration Law to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys today!