Recreational marijuana usage is on the verge of nationwide legalization in Canada, but the hodgepodge of legalization by state in the US continues to pose a threat to Canadian travelers involved in the cannabis industry.
That point was driven home today by an announcement from United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and US Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt.
According to the joint statement, 41-year old Colin Stewart – a native of Elgin, Quebec – has been sentenced to 135 months in prison for conspiring to smuggle marijuana into the United States. His projected route from Canada traveled through the Akwesasne Mohawk Indian Reservation.
Aside from the 11-year prison sentence, Chief United States District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby also ordered Stewart to serve 5 years of post-imprisonment supervised release and pay a $10,000 fine.
Stewart was extradited from Canada to face charges in the United States judicial system. That move indicates the Canadian government will continue to work with the US in allowing Canadian citizens to be prosecuted for marijuana-related crimes that occur south of the border.
The U.S. Department Of Justice issued this statement regarding the sentencing:
Stewart’s sentencing arrives amid fears of travelers being denied entry to America for past marijuana usage or any current job involving the legal marijuana industry in Canada.
Those fears recently led to one US congressman contacting the Department Of Homeland Security for clarity on border crossing procedures as legislative fixes to the impending issue are considered.
While marijuana remains illegal at the federal level in the United States, recreational usage has been legalized in nine states, with 30 states allowing medical use. Adult recreational usage will become fully legalized across Canada on October 17.