After a 52 – 29 senate vote in June, the Cannabis Act will fully legalize adult recreational marijuana usage in Canada starting on October 17.
As was reported earlier this week, that development has led to tensions between the US and Canada in regards to legal border crossing procedures. US Customs and Border Protections (CBP) officials have issued statements conflicting with those from the Canadian minister of border security regarding international travel.
According to CBP, any past usage of marijuana or current involvement in a cannabis business could potentially see a Canadian traveler banned from entry to the United States for life.
Due to the potential chilling effect on Canadian tourism to the US and the impact on cannabis investors who travel between the countries, lawmakers have begun to call for clarifications on border crossing.
Politico has now reported that California Democratic representative Lou Correa wrote a letter to US Department Of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen regarding border security protocols. Correa, a member of the House Homeland Security Oversight Subcommittee, wrote the following:
“We strongly urge DHS to clarify admission policies and procedures at US ports of entry to help ensure transparency of such processes. We are concerned DHS is unnecessarily and disproportionally penalizing noncitizens who are engaged in lawful business activities.”
The nature of the letter could have a major impact on future travel between the two countries, as Correa has indicated he intends to propose legislation to allow Canadian marijuana users to travel freely to the US.
A new law regarding travel may be needed due to the hodgepodge of conflicting cannabis laws at the state and federal level in the United States. While marijuana remains illegal federally, recreational use is legal in nine states plus the District of Columbia, while 30 states allow for medical marijuana usage.
Legalization in Canada and the uncertainty it has caused in border crossing could be a tipping point towards legalization across the United States.
Either medical use or full legalization initiatives will appear on the ballot in Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Utah this coming November. These initiatives follow former US Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner – previously known for his anti-marijuana stance – joining the advisory board of a marijuana firm.