Under the policy, USA officials are to bar entry to Canadians who acknowledge having consumed marijuana at any time in their past, as well as those who are either employed or invested in legal cannabis enterprises.
Executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations for Customs Border Protection (CPB) Todd Owen said Thursday that agents will give Canadians a lifetime ban if they are connected to Canada's legal cannabis sector.
So even after legalization in Canada, if a traveller admits to past use of any illegal drugs, including marijuana, the traveller will be found to be inadmissible into the United States.
Canadians who say they invest in marijuana companies would also be unable to enter the country as the US doesn't "recognize that as a legal business", Owen said.
Not every traveller will be asked whether they use marijuana, but Owen also outlined several signs of pot use that officials will not ignore.
"But there is no question that we are working with USA officials; they have legalized marijuana in a number of their states, and we're trying to make sure that travel between our two countries (is) not disrupted". "If you lie about it, that's fraud and misrepresentation, which carries a lifetime ban", Owen said.
Owen said that travelers are typically allowed the opportunity for a "voluntary withdraw" from a border crossing but noted records are kept whether a traveler enters the USA or not and such a traveler will not be able to return to the U.S.
However, Owen, who oversees U.S border operations, said the traveler would still be able to apply for a waiver from the lifetime ban, which can takes months to be processed and costs $585. These waivers are issued at the discretion of CBP.
Anyone who travels to the U.S. regularly knows that a common question at the border is "what do you do for a living?"
And now, Canadians who work in the marijuana industry will not be permitted to enter the US.
Thousands of Canadians have invested in the cannabis companies, which are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Owen told online news outlet Politico that the USA will continue to enforce its prohibition come Oct 17, when recreational Cannabis becomes legal.
Because of that, U.S. Immigration Attorney Len Saunders says people working in Canada's pot industry could face challenges.
"It's going to happen even more, and especially now that they're going after business travelers, it's going to be the Wild West at the border. Let's be clear: these are people engaged in activity that is legal in their home country of Canada - and it is activity that is also legally regulated in a majority of U.S. states", NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said.
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