Trudeau Government Says Legal Canadian Pot Users Shouldn’t Worry About Crossing US Border

REUTERS/Chris Wattie

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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The Trudeau government is pushing back on comments from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency that Canadians who use pot legally or work or invest in the marijuana industry could face a lifetime ban from entering the U.S.

The Toronto Star reported Friday that the federal Liberal government is urging Canadians to remember that hundreds of thousands of people cross the border every day “without incident.” (RELATED: Trudeau Plugs Carbon Tax As ‘Price On Pollution’)

U.S. Customs official Todd Owen, who works for the assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations, told Politico this week that the U.S. doesn’t plan to adjust its border regulations just because the Canadian government has decided to legalize marijuana.

“Our officers are not going to be asking everyone whether they have used marijuana, but if other questions lead there — or if there is a smell coming from the car, they might ask,” Owen told Politico. 

Likewise, marijuana residue, which can linger for weeks inside a car, could be detected by CBP inspection dogs and lead to further questioning,” he noted.

“If asked about past drug use, travelers should not lie,” he said. “If you lie about it, that’s fraud and misrepresentation, which carries a lifetime ban.”

But according to Canadian Border Security Minister Bill Blair’s office, Canadians should not expect a third-degree inspection by border guards after marijuana becomes legal in Canada on October 17, 2018.

“Despite one-in-eight Canadians using cannabis today, 400,000 people move between our two countries every day almost entirely without incident,” read an email from Blair’s office to the Star.

“The United States has the sovereign jurisdiction to deal with people crossing the border into their country, just as we have the same powers for those entering into Canada,” the correspondence read.

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