WASHINGTON, DC — A top official from the US Customs and Border Patrol has affirmed that the agency will enforce a federal policy prohibiting those involved with the Canadian marijuana industry from entering the United States.
Section 212 of the US Immigration and Nationality Act states that foreigners are ineligible to enter the US if they are “determined to be a drug abuser” or if they have assisted in the trafficking of an illicit substance. A US Custom representative told Politico that the agency is broadly interpreting the statute to include those who work or have financially invested in Canada’s legal marijuana industry, or who acknowledge personal use of the substance.
Canada legalized the regulated production and distribution of medical cannabis nearly two decades ago. In June of this year, Canadian lawmakers gave final approval to separate legislation regulating the adult use marijuana market. The new law takes effect on October 17, 2018.
NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano strongly criticized the US enforcement policy, stating: “This is an irrational and discriminatory policy that unduly penalizes tens of thousands of Canadians who pose no health or safety risk to the United States. At a time when public opinion and the culture surrounding marijuana is rapidly shifting, not just in the United States but around the world, it is inane for US border officials to maintain such a draconian and backward-looking policy.”