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U.S. border lifts ban on cannabis workers

Travelling for reasons related to drug may still be inadmissible: CBP
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U.S. border lifts ban on cannabis workers
Vehicles stop at customs booths while entering the United States from Windsor, Ont., in Detroit on March 1, 2013. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo

Fears that Canadian business travellers involved in Canada’s soon-to-be legalized recreational cannabis industry could be banned for life from the United States have been abated.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published an updated statement on Oct. 9 regarding the issue.

“A Canadian citizen working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the U.S. for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the U.S."

However, the statement indicated that a traveller entering the U.S. for reasons related to cannabis may still be deemed inadmissible.

Lawyers had sounded the alarm regarding lifetime bans and the denial of entry at the U.S. border ahead of Canada’s Oct. 17 legalization date.

“Guess what’s going to happen on Oct. 17? It is going to be a tidal wave of cases,” said Len Saunders, an immigration lawyer based in Blaine, Wash.

Lawyers had warned that companies involved in the cannabis industry that may need to cease travel to the U.S., or find employees with dual citizenship, as they face much lesser penalties.

U.S. federal law prohibits the importation of marijuana and border officers will continue to enforce that law, according to the CBP statement.