It is no secret by now that the agents Uncle Sam uses to protect the northern border have the power to stop Canadian cannabis users from crossing over into the United States. Not only is this bizarre discrimination well within the wheelhouse of federal controls, it is a right that has been executed more frequently over the past few years. It is conceivable, or at least we suspect, that this passive-aggressive political statement will continue, as long as marijuana remains an outlaw substance in the so-called Land of the Free.
Interestingly, however, the ban actually stretches far beyond the federal government not wanting pot smokers from Canada roaming freely in the states. There is reportedly a total sanction on Canadians with any affiliation with the northern nation’s cannabis economy. Now, even if a person only invests money in the cannabis trade, they can be considered a “drug trafficker” and prohibited from entering the country.
In any business, there is no contributing party less involved with the day-to-day operations than a venture capitalist. These people make their way in this world by identifying solid investments and throwing other people’s money at it in hopes of turning a profit. Sam Znaimer, a moneyman based in Vancouver, Canada, is one of these people. He has invested $100,000 in cannabis companies considered legal in parts of the United States.
But this affiliation was enough to earn him a permanent ban into the country, according to a report from CBS News. Znaimer told the news source that he was recently flagged while trying to enter the country. After hours of catching the third degree from border agents, he was informed that he could not cross due to his dealings with the cannabis market
“To my shock and horror, I was told that I was deemed to be inadmissible to the United States because I was assisting and abetting in the illicit trafficking of drugs,” he said. “They never asked whether I had consumed marijuana, the only thing that they’re interested in is that I’ve been an investor in U.S.-based cannabis companies. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that anyone as peripherally involved with these companies as an investor could possibly be deemed to be assisting and abetting. It is a huge regulatory overreach.”
Although marijuana is legal in over half the nation for medicinal and recreational use, it is still considered a highly illicit, dangerous drug in the eyes of the federal government. This means all of the legal pot businesses operating in America are technically in violation of the Controlled Substances Act. While there are some temporary protections in place to prevent the Department of Justice from prosecuting the medical marijuana community, there is nothing stopping it from cracking down on recreational states. This, of course, would be a huge undertaking — one that even U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions admits would take up too much of the government’s time and resources. But that has not stopped the department from simply grinding down gears in others ways.
In addition to Canadian cannabis investors, dispensary workers, cultivation professionals and anyone else discovered to have a cannabis link are being banned from crossing into the U.S. Sadly, these people are being slapped with a permanent ban.
Some reports indicate that this anti-pot approach to policing the border has become increasing more prevalent over the past six months. Legal experts say the situation will only get worse once Canada officially launches its nationwide recreational marijuana market later this fall. “My prediction is, come October 17, it’s going to be a tidal wave of cases,” Washington-based immigration attorney Len Saunders told The Vancouver Star.
According to Saunders, the federal government is treating marijuana investors and cannabis industry workers no differently than cartel members. He told CBS News that these people are barred because they are “getting paid through drug money, even marijuana.”
“It might as well be cocaine or heroin,” he added.
While Canada has changed its cannabis laws, the U.S. border policy will not change. The State Department says it has no plans to amend the “admission requirements into the United States,” as a result of “Canada’s legalization of cannabis.” Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Customs and Border Protection will only comment that, “marijuana remains federally prohibited in the United States” and that admissibility will be handled on a “case-by-case basis… based on the facts and circumstances known to the officer at the time.” So be careful what you say to border agents.
There is some concern that this border conundrum may prevent more investors from getting involved with American cannabis companies. Yet, this problem will likely work itself out. Canadian investors will have plenty of opportunities to turn profits from pot, as more U.S.-based cannabis operations migrate north to get in on a fully legal market. Several marijuana companies are reportedly making their way to the Great White North to get listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange. Others already have. This, according to a report from Investor’s Business Daily, is being done to so these companies can monetize on cannabis products that cannot be monetized in the U.S.
PHOTO KMR Photography