Canadian Faces Lifetime US Ban for CBD
by Dan Larkin.
A Canadian woman faces a lifetime US ban for possessing CBD at the border. This is yet another example of the confusion over a product that is legal in both countries.
What’s going on with these US bans?
There are already thousands of Canadians who have been denied entry into the US for admitting to having smoked cannabis at least once in their lives. I’m not kidding. If you’re a Canadian who admits to having taken a bong hit in say, 1982, you can be denied entry.
If you are caught at the border with cannabis in your possession, you can be banned for life. That has already happened for many. It doesn’t even matter if you’re crossing from British Colombia to Washington state. (Cannabis is legal in both places.)You could still be banned.
So that’s what this woman is facing now. For carrying CBD oil.
The woman asked not to be identified because her lawyers are working to apply for reentry to the US.
What do we know about this woman’s case?
Here’s what we know right now. The woman takes non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) for pain associated with her scoliosis, a curvature of the spine.
The Candian was pulled over at a secondary checkpoint on the US side of the border in Blaine, WA. This happened last weekend.
She said she was asked by border patrol officers if she was carrying any “leafy greens”. Since she took that to mean cannabis buds or plants, she naturally answered, “no”.
“I said no because, to me, ‘leafy greens’ is like marijuana, the actual bud, things that you smoke, recreational drugs. I use CBD daily and it’s not psychoactive, it can’t get me high at the dosage that I’ve been told to take it at.”Canadian woman facing lifetime ban from the US for CBD.
They did a physical search of her possessions and found her bottle of CBD oil. The US border agents consider it a controlled substance because it comes from the cannabis plant.
What happens next regarding her ban?
They confiscated her CBD, fined her $500 for failing to declare it, and fingerprinted her. Right now, her lifetime ban stands.
She can possibly get a special waiver. The application costs $600. But it’s mandatory for anyone denied entry to the U.S. after deportation or removal.
Talk about red tape! The US wants a criminal record check, letters of reference, a letter of remorse for past wrongs, proof of employment and documentation outlining a person’s residence and work history. You know, because CBD makes you a horrible person of questionable character, right? (That’s sarcasm.)
The US border agency could even require a drug screening test to show a person is not still using “illegal substances”. Plus, even if you jump through those hoops, you might have to re-apply every year.
“It seems like a much more serious thing than anyone had ever told me when I was there at the border. I’m still really not sure what’s going to happen. It’s an issue I don’t want to follow me around my whole life.”Canadian woman facing lifetime ban from the US for CBD.
What are the US Border officials saying?
Basically, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it’s the responsibility of travelers to familiarize themselves with U.S. law before seeking entry.
“Marijuana and marijuana products are considered controlled substances under U.S. federal law. Travelers found in possession of controlled substances at U.S. ports of entry can face arrest, seizures, fines, penalties or denied entry. Requirements for international travelers wishing to enter the United States are governed by and conducted in accordance with U.S. federal law, which supersedes state laws.”U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson
Right now, entry into the US is at the sole discretion of the U.S. customs officers on duty. They have a lot of leeway on asking questions to determine the admissibility of a foreign national.
When will this stop happening?
The 2018 US Farm bill, which legalized hemp and hemp products federally, should have stopped this nonsense. The US border agency is moving slowly, methodically in their review of the new law.
That will include working with their counterparts in Canada. Hopefully, they can get their act(s) together and end this outdated and frankly, cruel policy.
Read more CannabisIRL stories about Canada border issues here.
Original reporting from the CBC.ca