As we move closer to seeing recreational cannabis legalized in Canada, it’s starting to look like cannabis legalization may create a new set of challenges for Canadians travelling to the United States.
Recently, a member company contacted VRCA to ask whether its employees could have trouble travelling to the U.S. if the company won a tenant improvement contract for a cannabis production facility.
VRCA raised the question to the Canadian Construction Association (CCA), which asked the federal government for information.
While the federal government could not say with absolute certainly that a TI for a cannabis production facility would result in travel bans for company employees, what it could say is not encouraging: Canadians working in, investing in or making money from the cannabis industry may be barred from entering the U.S., even after recreational cannabis becomes legal in Canada.
Although a number of states, including Washington, have legalized cannabis within state boundaries, the Canadian-U.S. border is under federal jurisdiction. And since cannabis is a Schedule II narcotic, past or current association with the drug is considered a federal crime in the U.S.
As such, some Canadians who are involved with the cannabis economy have been labelled “inadmissible” because they are considered to be living off the profits of the drug trade.
There have been a number of recent news stories about Canadians being turned away at the border because of ties to the cannabis industry.
- Why investing in pot could pose problems at the U.S. border, CTV News
- Canadian cannabis workers targeted by U.S. border guards for lifetime bans, The Star Vancouver
- Executives, professionals connected to cannabis industry avoid travel to U.S. for fear of lifetime ban, CBC
VRCA is providing the advice received from CCA to all members so that corporate leaders can weigh the risks should their companies consider bidding on projects linked to legal cannabis production, distribution and sale.