Things Canadians in Cannabis Industry Need to Know Before Heading to US

There are some details Canadians in the cannabis industry need to be aware of before crossing to the US.

So here are some tips Puff Puff Post gleaned from Akshat Divatia, a veteran immigration lawyer at the Seattle-based law firm Harris Bricken.

Try to Avoid Travel to US

Divatia has advised Canadians, who work in the cannabis industry, to “avoid” crossing the border to the United States amid recent cases of US Customs Officers banning some potprenurs from entering the southern neighbor.

Asked if Canadians working in the cannabis industry should forget all together going to the United States, Divatia said: “Yes, they should avoid traveling to the US unless they want to assume the risk of apprehension and the burden of inadmissibility.”

Inadmissibility and Cannabis Industry Work 

Divatia said even if a Canadian has never consumed marijuana and doesn’t possess it, “the mere fact of working in the cannabis industry may make him or her inadmissible for profiting from the illegal drug trade by aiding, abetting, assisting, conspiring, or colluding in it.”

The lawyer said “depending on the officer,” a Canadian “may also be declared inadmissible forever,” which requires a waiver to revoke, costing about $930 in “government fees alone, and are initially approved only for a year.”

“If Canadians have any doubts about the significant risks involved, they should consult with a US immigration lawyer before traveling to the US,” he added.

cannabis industry
The CBP issued on Jan. 4 a directive on the search of electronic devices at the border, allowing the authority to do a basic search ‘with or without suspicion.’ (File image via Associated Press)

CBP Officers Already Have Information

US Customers and Border Protection (CBP) officers are equipped with all the needed research tools to know details about any US-bound Canadians before their arrivals.

He said:

“CBP’s computer systems can potentially obtain significant information about that individual based on airline passenger lists or vehicle license plates.”

The lawyer added that “names can then be cross-referenced with public databases or the web to present the CBP officer with data to question the traveler.”

On Jan. 4, CBP also issued a directive to allow the search of electronic devices at the border “’with or without suspicion’.”

In addition to that, the directive is to permit “an advanced search to ‘review, copy, and analyze’ the contents of electronic devices, where there is a suspicion that laws may be violated.”

Difference Between Flying and Driving?

When flying, “the inspection at the airport in Canada occurs before the traveler boards the airplane at the departing airport,” he said.

“The CBP preflight inspection offices have passenger lists in advance of the day of travel, and more tools at their disposal to obtain potentially derogatory information by cross-referencing various databases.”