Border Woes: Transporting CBD into Canada is Not OK


In a current tweet, the Canada Border Solutions Agency (CBSA) reminded us that transporting CBD oil into Canada remains illegal. Although in most areas south of the 49th parallel what CBSA has to say is of tiny consequence, it absolutely matters right here in Washington State, exactly where you are never ever as well far away from the Canadian border. The complete text of the tweet reads:

#DYK that transporting #CBDOil across the border remains illegal? Transporting any kind of #cannabis across the border without having a permit or exemption authorized by @GovCanHealth remains a significant offence. #DontBringItIn #DontTakeItOut

With the coming into force of the Cannabis Act on October 17, 2019, recreational marijuana use became legal on each sides of Washington State’s 427-mile border with British Columbia, as properly as other stretches of the U.S.-Canada boundary. This designed a scenario ripe for confusion. The man (or lady) on the Amtrak Cascades may reasonably conclude that there is practically nothing incorrect with taking a cannabis item purchased legally at a Seattle shop to Vancouver, exactly where it can also be bought legally.

On the other hand, as the Canadian government produced clear in the data sheet it sent to every single household in the nation prior to the Cannabis Act’s productive date: “It’s illegal to take cannabis and cannabis items, which includes these with CBD, across the Canadian border, regardless of whether you are leaving or coming to Canada. This applies to all nations, regardless of whether cannabis is legal there or not.”

With CBD items also on the hook, the prospective for confusion extends to a great deal of the borderlands. For instance, whilst Montana has a a great deal stricter cannabis regime than Washington State, THC-free of charge CBD items are not illegal in Large Sky Nation. This puts not just the marijuana aficionado from Tacoma on his way to celebration in Van at danger of border difficulty, but also the arthritic retiree from Helena heading up for a weekend in Banff.

To be fair, it is not uncommon at all for items that are legal on each sides of a border to be topic to customs controls, for income and/or regulatory motives. That stated, the scenario with cannabis along the U.S.-Canada border is a lot more fraught with danger due to the fact it is nonetheless an illegal drug as far as the U.S. federal government is concerned.

It is completely understandably for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to be on the lookout for cannabis items. The agency is tasked with enforcing federal law, and logically their officers in Metaline Falls, Washington really should not go about their duties any differently that their colleagues 55 miles away in Eastport, Idaho. On the other hand, it is clear seems that the Feds are going far beyond that—with Canadians feeling a great deal of the discomfort.

The CBC is most likely not exaggerating when it reports, “Thousands of Canadians have been denied entry to the U.S. basically for admitting they’ve smoked a joint after in their lives.” As my colleague Akshat Divatia recently explained:

U.S. law will not recognize any amnesty or pardon by Canadian authorities for cannabis-connected convictions. Admitting to a CBP officer that you utilised marijuana any time ahead of legalization is the equivalent of a formal court conviction for that crime and you will most likely be denied entry into the United States.”

The very same CBC write-up notes than an “unsuspecting CBD oil user”—remember our arthritic retiree—could be “banned from getting into the [U.S.] for life.” But you do not even need to have to carry or even have utilised cannabis items to get in difficulty. As Akshat notes:

These who legally perform in the Canadian cannabis business need to supply facts about their function and convince U.S. border officers that their trip to the U.S. is purely private. Cannabis workers will most likely need to have to prove that whilst in the U.S., they will not engage in any networking or strategic meetings, presentations, marketing and advertising efforts, or any manufacturing or distribution activities with buyers or cannabis business colleagues.”

Stated significantly less elegantly, coming to the U.S. for cannabis-connected enterprise is a no-no. Even investing in cannabis firms could theoretically get you banned for life from the United States. With this type of onslaught, even innocuous activities such as altering planes at a U.S. airport to attend a cannabis conference in a third nation are causes of concern.

It does not cease there, although. In at least 1 instance that we know of, CBP took away NEXUS privileges from a person who wrote a reference letter for a fellow Canadian applying for a waiver for a marijuana-connected ineligibility. This is worth repeating. They did not take away NEXUS privileges from a person who him or herself had a marijuana ineligibility, but rather from a person who wanted to support that particular person by writing a letter. This would be akin to a lawyer obtaining sanctioned for serving as a character reference for a bar applicant who had a run-in with the law in the previous.

You may consider, properly, it is just NEXUS—wait in the standard line like the rest of us. But the capacity to keep away from extended waits at the border can be essential for persons engaged in cross-border enterprise activities. And, once again, the privileges are becoming taken away for writing a letter.

I want I could say that the bottom line is as uncomplicated as not taking any cannabis products—whether THC, CBD or someplace in between—with you when you cross the border. On the other hand, the dangers run a great deal deeper for Canadians and other foreigners with any cannabis involvement heading south. And to be certain, this consists of foreigners living in the United States, who are fairly a great deal topic to the very same ineligibilities.

If in doubt, speak to a lawyer ahead of you go anyplace close to the Peace Arch. Do not take possibilities: The consequences can be as significant as they get.


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