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U.S. Needs to Change Cannabis Border Policy

border checkpoint

After a wonderful trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for an epic International Cannabis Business Conference, I heard a number of stories from Canadians about horror stories at the United States border. With Canada legalizing cannabis officially this October 17th, following the historic passage of the Cannabis Act, the U.S. needs to change its cannabis border policy. (Off topic: the U.S. needs to change its southern border policy as well as many of the people seeking asylum and a better way of life are escaping the harmful global consequences of our nation’s disastrous Drug War.)

CTV News covered the insane cannabis border policy that can ban the cannabis community from entering our nation:

“It’s basically black and white – if you admit to a U.S. border officer at a U.S. port of entry that you’ve smoked marijuana in the past, whether it’s in Canada or the U.S., you will be barred entry for life to the United States,” immigration lawyer Len Saunders told CTV’s Your Morning on Tuesday.

Saunders, who is based in Washington state, said that Canadians who get the lifetime ban can still apply for temporary waivers, which can allow them to cross the border for up to five years.


According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website, an application for a waiver of inadmissibility costs US$585 and can take up to a year to process. The application requires a lot of paperwork, which may include fingerprinting and a verification of your criminal record.

Not only is it rather immoral to ban people that utilize a substance that is safer than alcohol form the United States, it also hurts our economy. We want the cannabis community to vacation in our nation and spend their hard-earned money.  Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions is unlikely to be sensible on the issue, so the cannabis community and our allies need to pressure the administration, and if necessary, speak very loudly at the ballot box.

Learn more about state laws, federal policy and what the future holds for the cannabis community and industry at the International Cannabis Business Conference this September 27th and 28th in Portland, Oregon. As always, the ICBC will provide the best networking opportunities of any conference as you’ll have the chance to mingle with top entrepreneurs, investors, and advocates from around the world. Get your tickets by September 12th to save some of your hard-earned money. 

Photo credit: MPD01605 on Flickr.

cannabis community, Drug War, Jeff Sessions, Len Saunders, Trump